Like other underdeveloped countries trying to attract much-needed foreign currency, Cambodia is making a push to lure tourists back to its troubled land.
The latest venture is a new 366-room deluxe hotel in Phnom Penh, financed by overseas investors and scheduled for completion by the end of this year. The hotel, known as the Cambodiana, has been built at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. It opened its first wing this summer.
Cambodia receives far more requests for visitor visas than the country's fledgling tourist infrastructure can deal with, meaning that only about 5,000 visitors a year are allowed into the country.
Chean Yeap, director of Cambodia's tourist office, said that a five-year plan has been developed calling for 12,000 tourist visas to be issued in 1991 and possibly as many as 50,000 "if there is peace." Cambodia's government is still engaged in guerrilla warfare with a number of rival factions.
Completion of the Cambodiana will increase the number of hotel rooms in Phnom Penh to 1,095, Yeap said, adding that group travel rather than individual travel is being encouraged for security reasons in a country he described as being "half at peace and half at war."
Giddyap, S'il Vous Plait: Saratoga in New York and Newmarket in England are home to the world's leading horse racing museums. Now, a new museum has opened near Paris dedicated to the sport of kings in France. The museum, in a chateau near the race track at Maisons-Lafitte, contains paintings and sculptures as well as a book and video library.
In what might be taken as a bit of French one-upmanship, the museum's first exhibit is entitled "100 Years of French Victories at the Epsom Derby."
The Derby, of course, is England's top race.
Quick Fact: East Germany has raised its speed limit from 60 miles per hour to 80 m.p.h. in preparation for the country's Oct. 14 reunification with West Germany, which has no speed limit on its \o7 Autobahns\f7 .
No, Henrik Ibsen, Not Henry Gibson: Norway will honor its greatest playwright, Henrik Ibsen, with what is being billed as the first Ibsen Festival, Aug. 30 to Sept. 15 at the National Theatre in Oslo.
The festival is expected to become an annual event that will, in the words of the organizers, have "multiplier effects for the tourist trade, hotels, restaurants, museum and library visits, concerts and exhibitions" in Norway.
Expressly American: England is the top foreign destination and Florida the leading domestic vacation spot this summer, according to a survey of American Express travel agents.
The agents, polled in 100 cities around the country, said there also is a significant increase in bookings to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The survey also found:
--Moscow is the top-selling travel city in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
--Orlando, Fla., is the most popular U.S. city destination.
--Hawaii is the top honeymoon destination.
--Pollsters can be kept employed compiling the most insignificant kind of data.
Grand Opening: After undergoing extensive renovation, the 56-room Grand Hotel has reopened in Kracow, Poland. A number of rooms now have air conditioning, and all have private baths, mini-bars, color TV and radio. There are two restaurants and two cocktail lounges.
On the Right Track: The motto of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, East Germany's state railway, is "Comfort First." Capitalism has not been long in making inroads since the Wall came down, however, and the East Germans have quickly found a way to earn tourist dollars.
Since World War II, only one luxury rail coach has been built in West Germany, but more than 50 have been manufactured in the East to shuttle political and military leaders to and fro.
Now, the East Germans are planning to hire out the wood-veneer saloon coaches for $542 per day. A dance car with its own disco is slightly more at $602 a day.
Quick Fact: Midway Island in the Pacific, only 1 mile wide and 1 1/2 miles long, is home to an estimated 1 1/2 million birds, including a million black-footed albatrosses, also known as gooney birds.
Not Much Room Here: Travelers interested in edible and inedible fungi will be gathering in Colorado Thursday through next Sunday as Wild Mushrooms Telluride celebrates its 10th anniversary. The four-day conference will bring together professional mycologists, amateur collectors, commercial growers and those interested in the psycho-physiological effects of certain mushrooms. Forays into the surrounding mountains will take place, as well as lectures and workshops. For more information, call (800) 525-3455.