>Tourist growth helps boost property market in Cambodia

>Cambodian tourist numbers increase

The number of tourists visiting Cambodia has increased in the first half of this year with authorities now predicting more than 2.3 million visitors for 2008.

The Ministry of Tourism said numbers were up more than 14% compared with last year. A spokesman said political stability and infrastructure improvements had increased the number of tourist arrivals to the country. Some $1.64 billion is expected to be generated in 2008 from tourism alone.

According to specialists this means a boost for those with buy-to-let property in the country as these latest figures are part of a trend. Visitor numbers reached 2 million in 2006, and rose a further 20% in 2007.

‘This sustained and aggressive growth in the tourist sector, as well as booming construction, property and garment manufacturing sectors is helping the country’s economy to enjoy near double-digit growth,’ said a spokesman for David Stanley Redfern.

The real estate sector, in particular, is growing at a phenomenal rate and no more so than in the capital Phnom Penh where land doubled last year to $3,000 per square metre, up from just $500 in 2000. ‘Add to this the growth in the tourism sector and rental yields in the city are also expected to grow,’ he added.

Once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh is a significant global and domestic tourist destination for Cambodia. The city is the wealthiest and most populous in the country; it’s commercial, political and cultural hub and is home to more than two million people.

French villas along tree-lined boulevards remind the visitor of its colonist heritage, yet its oldest structure is the Wat Phnom from the founding days of the city, constructed in 1373. The French however, certainly left their mark and parts of the city are filled with colonial villas, French churches, boulevards, and famous landmarks such as the Art deco market Phsar Thom Thmei and the Hotel Le Royal.

Proving popular are apartments in the chic riverside French quarter from as little as £49,000. These authentic French colonial period buildings have been completely refurbished and modernised and are expected to appreciate by 15 to 20% per year. The developer is currently offering a rental guarantee of 9% for the first two years, making this a safe investment in an aggressively growing market.

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