It’s all systems go for the tourism sector, which is ready to receive local and international tourists during the Khmer New Year festival this week after two years of subdued growth, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
In a statement on April 7, the ministry urged national and foreign tourism associations and media to organise and publish new tour packages as well as raise cooperation or partnerships with domestic and overseas stakeholders to attract more international tourists.
Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association president Khieu Thy told The Post on April 10 that the number of local tourists making trips during Khmer New Year this year is expected to be high, but not so for international arrivals.
“The positive effect of tourist growth is due to the fact that Cambodia managed to control the spread of Covid-19 while raising vaccination rates, which is relatively high compared to the world,” he said.
In fact, he added, in Siem Reap, the number of local visitors have started to rise steadily over the weekend.
“For the upcoming Khmer New Year, all sections are ready with the hope that business activities in the tourism sector will improve after two years of stalemate,” he mentioned.
Thy said that despite the stagnation, preparation by guesthouses, restaurants and mixed services for recovery has not been a problem, although it might take time for foreign language guides, given the slow uptrend in international travel.
For now, Siem Reap receives an average of 200 international tourists per day with one flight daily from Thailand and Singapore, respectively.
Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said the private sector has always helped to promote and participate in the preparation to welcome tourists to revitalise the tourism sector.
“For the Khmer New Year, the private sector is ready to receive the growing number of visitors,” he said, adding that the series of infrastructure revamp in Siem Reap will draw more tourists.
“Cambodia’s reopening will help increase trips in the coming New Year, but it will probably not exceed the number seen during Pchum Ben and Water Festival last year due to the current global economic crisis and rising oil prices which could be a barrier to travel,” he said.