The number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Siem Reap’s ancient Angkor Wat temple and the Kingdom’s coastal areas increased sharply during this year’s three-day Lunar New Year.
Chinese-Vietnamese New Year is an official Cambodian celebration, but many Cambodians regard it as a special occasion for relaxing and visiting tourist sites.
Data from the Siem Reap provincial tourism department show that 52,909 tourists visited Siem Reap during Lunar New Year – an increase of 7.17 per cent from last year. Of that number, 23,709 were foreign tourists, an increase of 16 per cent. Local tourist arrivals rose slightly, by only one per cent.
“We had more and more Chinese and Vietnamese tourists coming by air – about 41 flights have been landing every day for the past three days. Even now, they are still coming,” said Chheuy Chhorn, deputy director of the tourism department.
“The improvement in their economies, as well as our economy, encourages them to spend more on travelling. In addition, we also have political stability – that’s also another attraction for them to come,” he said.
Usually, locals visit Siem Reap on weekends, but during Chinese New Year they travel to other places.
Seng Mony, administration director of the Sihanoukville provincial tourism department, also reported a rise in the number of tourists this year. He said Sihanoukville saw 44,076 tourists in total, up by 18 per cent. Of that, 38,787 were local tourists, an increase of 16 per cent, while the figure of 5,289 foreign tourists was up 42 per cent.
“This year we saw a big increase in foreign tourist arrivals because three big ships, carrying 2,089 tourists, were visiting the province during this Lunar New Year – that’s a big jump,” he said.
With the increase in the number of tourists, he said, the provincial government had put on numerous events and shows to welcome them.
“Of course, we received some complaints from them about the increase in prices, but most of them accepted it because the vendors increased prices only a little,” he said.
Data from Kampot’s tourism department showed that the province received 84,917 tourists over the past three days – a rise of about five per cent. Of the total, 69,548 were domestic tourists and the remaining were foreign tourist arrivals, which increased by 43.41 per cent.
“Most of our domestic tourists are going to visit Bokor Mountain. The place is really popular now for both foreign and domestic tourists,” deputy director Mok Sekano said.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]