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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sea festival nets $15M for Kampot economy

People stand at the entrance to the 2015 Sea Festival in Kampot on Sunday.
People stand at the entrance to the 2015 Sea Festival in Kampot on Sunday. Heng Chivoan

Sea festival nets $15M for Kampot economy

This year’s Sea Festival, held for the first time in Kampot last weekend, attracted over 300,000 visitors and generated more than $15 million in revenue for the local community, tourism minister Thong Khon said yesterday.

“People are happy and I am very happy that everyone supported the festival,” he said.

Kampot province hosted the 4th annual Sea Festival from December 11 to 13 under the theme of “Clean Bay, Prosperous Economy.”

Initial estimates showed each visitor to the coastal city spent an average of $50 during their stay, putting the total revenue generated by the festival at about $15 million, the minister said.

“The money goes directly to people and local businesses such as vendors, small and medium enterprises that sell souvenirs, hotels, restaurants and so on,” he said.

“Conducting the festival requires money, so we spent a lot too,” Khon continued. “I haven’t calculated the expenditure yet, but 50 per cent came from sponsors in the private sector.”

The annual Sea Festival, which was originally organised to mark Cambodia’s membership in the elite 1,000 Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club, was first held in Sihanoukville in 2012. It has since been hosted by Kep and Koh Kong.

Khon said the festival should follow the same rotational cycle through Cambodia’s four coastal provinces, though the decision on its next destination has not been finalised.

The Sea Festival is an amalgamation of cultural and sport events, and in the past has offered activities, such as Khmer kickboxing, beach volleyball, jet skiing and paragliding.

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