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Hospitality sector booked out for Lunar New Year

Hospitality sector booked out for Lunar New Year

130208 08
Red Lunar New Year lanterns are displayed for sale at O’Russey market in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

When Chinese and Vietnamese tourists will flock into Cambodia’s Siem Reap province for Lunar New Year, heightened demand for accommodation may make things tough, insiders say.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said that while many Chinese and Vietnamese tourists will enjoy their holidays in Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat, others may find that all the hotels and guesthouses are booked out.

Kim Eang also said that he had received information about an increase in charter flights from China and South Korea.

 “With so many tourists, it can be difficult to find accommodation [in Siem Reap],” he said.

“In February and early March, hotel rooms in Siem Reap are difficult to find.

“When Chinese tourists arrive at Angkor, they love it. It is different from 10 or 20 years ago, when they lacked news and broadcast services. Now there are more broadcasts and prints about Angkor in their media.”

Sinan Thourn, chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said there were some European tourists unable to visit Cambodia during Lunar New Year, when most Chinese and Vietnamese tourists visit
Angkor.

“Siem Reap now is more crowded by tourists from November through to March,” he said.

“It is difficult to book rooms during this time because tourism soars.”

The growth in tourism is a good justification for connecting direct flights from Chinese provinces, he added.

“China has some big cities; the government should push some airline companies to fly from those cities.”

Ngov Sengkak, Siem Reap’s tourism department director, said that Siem Reap received around 8,000 international tourists daily, but during Lunar New Year, there would be around 10,000 tourists per day entering Siem Reap.

Sengkak said guests had booked all hotel and guesthouse rooms about a month ago.

“We are lacking the Chinese-speaking tour guides, and we are working with the private sector to find a solution,” he said.

Aviation officials, including Tith Vanna, Siem Reap International Airport director, and Soy Sokhan, secretary of state for civil aviation, could not confirm yesterday the number of charter flights during the Lunar New Year holiday.

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