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1,711 families voluntarily move from Cambodia's famed Angkor area so far

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- At least 1,711 out of some 6,000 families living in illegal structures in the 401-square-km Angkor Archaeological Park have so far volunteered to resettle at a new relocated site, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Tuesday.

The relocated site is situated in the 1,300-hectare Run Ta Ek eco village in Banteay Srei district, about 20 km outside the Angkor park in northwestern Siem Reap Province.

Speaking during a visit to the relocated families, Hun Sen said the resettlement is to preserve the beauty of the Angkor park, which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized as a world heritage site since 1992.

"When we proposed to register the Angkor as a world heritage site, we accepted all terms and conditions that were required by UNESCO, so we have to comply with those terms and conditions, or our Angkor Wat will be withdrawn from the world heritage list because it loses its qualifications," he said.

Hun Sen said each relocated family has received a plot of land measuring 20 meters wide by 30 meters long, as well as some cash and an ID poor card, which allows the card holder access to free healthcare.

The prime minister also pledged to build infrastructure such as roads, electricity, clean water, markets, schools and health centers in the relocated site.

The Angkor Archaeological Park is the most popular tourist destination in the Southeast Asian nation.

The park recorded 110,570 foreign tourists in the first eight months of 2022, up 17.6 times compared to the same period last year, the state-owned Angkor Enterprise said, adding that it earned 4.44 million U.S. dollars in revenue from ticket sales during the January-August period this year, also up 17 folds year on year.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Angkor attracted up to 2.2 million international tourists in 2019, earning a gross revenue of 99 million dollars from ticket sales.