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Hundreds of people perform exercises as part of an International Yoga Day at Angkor Wat this year. Akp

Yoga to bring tourists

The government has plans to promote yoga classes at Cambodia’s tourism hotspots in a bid to lure enthusiasts via the popular meditative exercise.

Thong Khon, the minister of tourism, said yesterday that the government will work with the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia to establish a yoga federation to help promote yoga in tourism destinations like Siem Reap.

“The federation will somehow contribute to the tourism sector,” he said.

Yoga instructors across the country will be encouraged to join the new federation, Khon said, although he did not say when it would be established.

“It’s good for the health and easy to do. You don’t need a lot of things do to yoga,” Khon said.

“After the federation is created, we might hire some Indian yoga trainers to train locals so they can recruit other locals who do not know yoga, but want to practice it.”

Ho Vandy, managing director of World Express Tours and Travel, welcomed the initiative he said would be another reason for people to visit the Kingdom.

“The more programs they have, the more colorful tourism [will be] in Cambodia,” he said.

Demand for yoga instruction has been growing in Siem Reap, according to Stephen Faiers, manager and owner of Angkor Bodhi Tree Retreat and Yoga Centre.

“We’ve been hearing of a lot more hotels and resorts that are around looking for yoga teachers to be able to provide yoga to all their guests,” Faiers said.

He added that Cambodians are becoming more interested in practicing yoga as well.

“Our centre and two other places provide a yoga club for Khmer women in Siem Reap,” Faiers said.

“[The instructors] go to a number of different places to teach classes for free.”

The creation of the proposed yoga federation comes on the heels of International Yoga Day, which was celebrated in Siem Reap on June 21, with about 1,000 people taking part in a yoga session at Angkor Wat.

Additional reporting by Chan Muyhongc

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