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Angkor ready for surge of tourists

Tourists walk through the grounds of Angkor Wat temple in 2012
Tourists walk through the grounds of Angkor Wat temple in 2012. Heng Chivoan

Angkor ready for surge of tourists

Siem Reap hotel operators are preparing for a deluge of tourists this Khmer New Year season the likes of which is not often seen, tourism officials say.

Chheuy Chhorn, deputy director of Siem Reap’s tourism department, said after attracting 170,000 visitors to the first annual Angkor Sangkran celebration last year, hotel and business owners are expecting more than 200,000 tourists to attend this year’s event.

Bouth Vannda, director of sales and marketing at the Angkor Hotel and Angkor Paradise Hotel, said all 193 rooms at the Angkor Hotel had been booked out.

While the 169-room, moderately priced Angkor Paradise Hotel still had vacancies, Vannda said she expects every room to be filled by Khmer New Year, which kicks off on April 13.

“Many people are still searching for cheaper places.” she said.

“As the cheaper places fill up and we get closer to Khmer New Year, I expect we will fill all of our rooms.”

Phem Chhorpoan, owner of the 22-room Happy Guesthouse and Restaurant, said all her rooms had been booked as well and she was still receiving daily booking requests.

Chhorpoan said she increased the price per room by $1 per day for the busy time.

“Siem Reap is going to have people everywhere day and night,” she said. “Even if I had more rooms, I could still sell them all.”

According to the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Tourism, there are 166 hotels in the province, which have a total of 10,382 rooms, and 233 guesthouses, which have a total of 3,600 rooms.

“The Angkor Sangkran includes concerts, trade fairs, cultural activities like traditional Khmer games and dancing,” Chhorn, the local tourism official said.

The three-day celebration is held at Angkor Wat temple, Bayon temple and Elephant Terrace,

Last year, more than 3,000 Cambodian youths, actors and actresses participated in the festival.

Siem Reap tourism continues to increase year on year.

In 2013, the province welcomed more than 2.23 million visitors, up more than eight per cent from 2012.

In October last year, the Apsara Authority reported Angkor Wat ticket sale revenue had reached $41.4 million within the first nine months of 2013, a 14 per cent increase on 2012 ticket sale figures.

In total, Cambodia’s tourism sector earned $2.5 billion during all of 2013, according to Tourism Minister Thong Khon.

The Angkor Sangkran festival will be held from April 13 to 16.

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