Visitors booked almost 100 per cent of lodging on popular islands in Preah Sihanouk province on April 14, the first day of the Khmer New Year holiday, according to the provincial tourism department.
Department director Tang Sochet Kresna told The Post on April 14 that the number of visitors to the province this year is higher than in 2021, when the province was placed in partial lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He noted that this year, all tourist attractions across the country are open to visitors from near and afar as the pandemic has been brought under control, with four provinces recently declared mask-optional. He said that although Preah Sihanouk is not among the four provinces, many travellers have visited and followed safety measures consistently.
‘’The tourism department and provincial authorities have always strived to spread the word about preventive measures and implement the government circular and guidelines [to ensure safety] in coastal areas, resorts and islands. We do this regularly, whether there are holiday celebrations or not.
"But during this Khmer New Year, there can be certain challenges because travellers have come in large number. There can be loopholes in mask wearing and social distancing. Hence, we call on everyone to practice preventive measures including the three dos and don’ts,’’ he said.
He noted that since the government reopened the country to welcome fully-vaccinated travellers and exempt them from quarantine, Preah Sihanouk province has received tourists coming from as far as Europe, though their number remains low due to border closures in neighbouring countries as direct flights have not yet been opened widely.
The tourism ministry urged the provincial administration and relevant authorities to continue to spread the word about preventive measures to the public and businesses in the sector to "safe tourism" protocol and standard operating procedure (SOP) to stave off the coronavirus and boost the image of the popular coastal province on the international stage, now and in the future.