Domestic tourists travelling to Cambodia’s beaches decreased sharply during the Khmer New Year three-day holiday, which ended yesterday, but tourist numbers increased at Siem Reap’s cultural attractions as the Angkor-Sangran kicked off, officials said.
Soy Sinol, director of Kampot province’s Tourism Department, said total figures for the tourists, mostly Cambodian, decreased by about 30 per cent, from more than 90,000 to about 70,000 for the same three-day period last year.
He attributed the spike in last year’s numbers to Thansur Bokor Highland Resort, which is less of an attraction this year, being a novelty. Additionally, he said, the Angkor-Sangran event held for the first time in Siem Reap drew numerous Khmer New Year travellers.
The number of cars driving to the peak of Bokor Mountain decreased from about 4,000 a day last year to only about 2,300 to 2,400 this year, Sinol said.
“Although we have seen tourist numbers decrease this year, I think that this move doesn’t affect the tourism sector in this province because this number is still huge,” he said.
Fewer domestic tourists also travelled to Preah Sihanouk province than in the 2012 Khmer New Year, according to a tourism official there.
Seng Kha, director of Preah Sihanouk province’s Tourism Department, noted that visitors at this year’s Khmer New Year had decreased by over 20 per cent from last year to roughly 50,000.
He agreed that the Angkor-Sangran festival had attracted many visitors, but said he believes the bad weather before the New Year as well as a spate of recent traffic accidents along National Road 4 had also curbed beach-goers.
“One reason, I think personally, is due to the many traffic accidents along National Road 4,” he said. “Those accidents make people scared.”
Chhoeuy Chhan, deputy director of the Siem Reap Provincial Tourism Department, said his province had received about 150,000 Khmer New Year visitors, a number that was higher than the previous year.
Foreign visitors numbered about 5,000 a day and domestic visitors accounted for more than 40,000, he said, adding, however, that the official
figures had not yet been totalled.
“They went to see the Angkor-Sangkran festival for the first time,” he said.