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Domestic tourism buoyed by Water Festival

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Tourists visit Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province during Water Festival. TOURISM MINISTRY

Domestic tourism buoyed by Water Festival

Holidaymakers made 464,888 domestic trips across Cambodia during the first two days of the Water Festival on November 18-19, with the capital ranking as the top destination, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The number of trips increased 152.15 per cent from 132,013 on November 18 to 332,875 on November 19. Trips over the two days rose 157.85 per cent from 180,296 over the second weekend of this month, on November 13-14.

Known locally as Bon Om Touk, the Water Festival falls from November 18-20 this year, the second day of which aligns with the date of the full moon in the Khmer lunar calendar month of Katdoek (or Kartika in Sanskrit) when the long-cycle rice crops are ready for harvest.

On November 19, 328,412 Cambodians and 4,463 foreign residents visited Phnom Penh (66,750) and the provinces of Siem Reap (47,702), Preah Sihanouk (44,242), Kampot (33,252), Kep (29,117), Pursat (21,313), Battambang (11,189), Mondulkiri (10,620) and Ratanakkiri (10,178), the ministry noted.

The remaining 16 provinces saw 58,512 visitors, each with fewer than 10,000.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said it was expected that the number of domestic tourists would be higher on November 19 than the previous day, citing the government's decision to reopen many recreational activities that had been closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He said the decision not only provides a place for tourists to relax, but also increases private sector revenues and generates income for locals.

"Inter-provincial travel will remain strong heading into the weekend, and hotel occupancy rates in major destinations such as Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot, Siem Reap, Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri will remain high, in the 80-90 per cent ballpark,” Khon said.

There have been no significant problems concerning the management of tourism products, service quality, or hygiene and environmental factors, he said, underlining that most tourism businesses are striving to provide tourists with safe and quality experiences to recognised standards, and implement Covid-19 prevention measures.

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