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A new place for meetings

Siem Reap’s cultural and entertainment fare, sadly lacking due to absence of suitable venues, is about to be boosted with the new push to cement the town on the regional and international conference circuit.

The value-added aspect for Siem Reap residents is that conference attendees want entertainment after their meetings finish. And for that they must have venues with appropriate equipment including, of course, sound systems.

This means that in between conferences, budding entrepreneurs can book the venues for concerts.

Siem Reap’s largest upscale hotel, Sofitel, obviously has an eye on that need.

Last month it opened its lavish new ballroom and conference centre, and front office manager Sam Sorn confirmed that a state of the art sound system has been installed. He said this is certainly suitable for live music if clients want it.

There is also a large stage, which has been earmarked for live concerts.

The elegant 450-square-metre Grand Ballroom, due to its sheer opulence, doubles as an entertainment centre as well as a more utilitarian venue for conferences.

The ballroom, complete with suitably resplendent chandeliers, is accessed by a charming walkway over lawns and lily ponds, and can host up to 450 people for meetings, banquets, special occasions and concerts.

The centre also features an outer pre-conference area that is naturally lit, and natural lighting is possible in the ballroom, too.

Before the opening of the Sofitel Grand Ballroom, the largest available venue in Siem Reap was at the Sokha Angkor Resort hotel.

But the accent of Sokhas’s conference room has been strictly business. This has paid off for Sokha because it has been Siem Reap’s premier choice for large gatherings, especially international gabfests such as ASEAN meetings and regional government meetings.

But as Sokha’s general manager, the accommodating Emmett McHenry, points out, “If Siem Reap has more facilities to offer, the more MICE it can draw in for the town, then the better it is for everyone”.

MICE is an acronym for “meetings, incentives, conferences and events”, and Siem Reap is set to become the hot new option on this circuit.

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