At the Angkor Wat complex, a 12th century marvel of Khmer architecture whose unique crenelations and reliefs lure millions each year, high season has brought the lowest number of tourists on record.
Chinese-speaking Cambodian guide Hor Sophea has not taken any tours since late January. Several weeks on, money is getting tight.
“I’ve never seen so few tourists,” said the 36-year, gesturing at the large moat inside the Angkor Wat complex, whose gangways normally bustle with selfie-taking hordes but are now empty.
“I am very worried… I don’t know how much longer we can carry on like this.”
The Angkor complex in Siem Reap province attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which hit a record 6.6 million in 2019, nearly half of whom were from China.
But the outbreak of the coronavirus has withered Chinese tourist arrivals by 90 percent.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced tax breaks for hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap for four months to offset the losses.