Preah Vihear's future
Despite signs of detente between the Thai and Cambodian governments, the temple remains a conflict zone. Andy Brouwer, product manager for Hanuman, a tour agency in Phnom Penh, said yesterday that while the new road made tour visits "much more feasible," the temple needed permanent peace to reach its full tourism potential. "Until the two sides categorically state that they are no longer squabbling or fighting over Preah Vihear, then it's always going to remain a potential trouble spot that could go downhill at any stage," Mr Brouwer said.
Essentially we need to avoid false dawns as far as Preah Vihear is concerned. The troops may've pulled back but I don't hear of any peace treaty being signed or the Thai government stating publicly that the military stand-off won't flair up again, which means that the situation remains fragile. That will be a concern to many foreign tourists who will shy away from a potential trouble spot due to safety concerns. And rightly so. We all want Preah Vihear to flourish as a tourism magnet, but people must be aware of the situation they are entering before they go and without their safety being assured, many will stay away.