Cambodia’s APSARA National Authority (ANA) has started the work to restore the eastern entrance of the famed Angkor Wat temple, said an ANA news release on Wednesday.

The entrance was damaged by the impact from aging, weathers, and vegetation among others, according to the news release, reported by Xinhua news agency.

“Although the Eastern Entrance of Angkor Wat was slightly damaged in some parts, such as its stairs, roof, and pediment, maintenance work is needed to avoid the serious damage in the future,” Phin Vicheasachara, an archaeologist in charge of the restoration work, said.

“Our team needs to study the layout of the entrance and allocate the stones, and then, we’re going to clean all the stones and reassemble them in their original places,” Vicheasachara added.

The restoration work of the eastern entrance of Angkor Wat began on Monday, Vicheasachara said.

Located in the northwestern Siem Reap province, the 400 sq km Angkor Archeological Park, inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1992, is the kingdom’s most popular tourist destination.

Prior to the Covid pandemic, the site received up to 2.2 million international tourists in 2019, earning a gross revenue of 99 million US dollars from ticket sales.

The park received only 6,167 foreign visitors in the first nine months of 2021, down 98.4 per cent from a year earlier, the Angkor Enterprise said, adding that it earned 253,809 US dollars in gross revenue from ticket sales during the January-September period this year, down 98.6 per cent year on year.

Cambodia on Monday cut the quarantine period for fully vaccinated inbound travelers from 14 days to three days for foreign investors, technical experts, diplomats, and cooperation project managers and coordinators, and to seven days for general inbound travelers, including foreign tourists.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said that a reduced quarantine period bodes well for the tourism industry hard hit by the pandemic.

“It’s a good sign for our tourism because a shorter quarantine period will encourage investors, business people and tourists to come to Cambodia,” she told Xinhua news agency.

“With this new quarantine policy, we hope our tourism will start to recover gradually,” she added.

–IANS

int/skp/

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