This year marks Kep’s third hosting of the celebration, following events in 2013 and 2017; Preah Sihanouk province hosted it in 2022. The annual festival, paused only during the Covid-19 outbreak, rotates among the four coastal provinces: Kep, Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong.

The Ministry of Tourism announced that the event, themed “Tourism For All,” is scheduled for December 1-3.

The event is a collaboration between the ministry, Kep Provincial Hall, the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), relevant ministries, institutions and the private sector.

Prime Minister Hun Manet and his spouse Pich Chanmony will preside over the official opening ceremony on December 2.

Piseth told The Post on November 14 that the preparation of gardens, lighting in public places and the repair of roads and public infrastructure in the province is progressing regularly, with some work nearly complete.

According to the provincial authority’s plan, the construction, repair and cleaning of the sites for the event will be completed by November 25.

He added that the celebration is an opportunity to promote the potential of Cambodia’s coastal provinces to tourists. The improvements being made to the province are not just for the upcoming jubilee; some are for long-term use as well.

“During the three days of the upcoming Sea Festival, we expect no less than 100,000 … guests to attend and the provincial authorities and relevant departments are ready for the job,” he said.

He added that for accommodation in hotels and guesthouses, there are currently more than 1,000 rooms available. He also noted the ministry is providing regular training for traders on their pricing structures.

“We have made significant progress in developing the province to enhance its beauty and attract more [visitors] and investors, but negative talk still exists,” he said.

Piseth highlighted that the province boasts a total of 38 onshore and island travel destinations.

Top Sopheak, spokesperson for the ministry, noted that the body’s team, along with relevant departments, is diligently preparing for the smooth execution of the event.

He underlined the upcoming celebration’s numerous key activities, including artistic performances, concerts, fireworks, exhibitions of local products, sports events and food and beverage offerings.

Regarding private sector involvement, he noted, “There is not yet precise data available, as the number of companies registering continues to rise”.

Bun Narin, president of the Association of Kampot-Kep Salt Producers, said earlier in November that the imminent festival is not only an avenue for promoting Cambodian tourism to both domestic and foreign visitors, but also presents an opportunity for the private sector to showcase their products and services.

However, he noted that he has yet to receive details about the conditions required by the ministry, including the types of products eligible for participation, fee payment requirements and the location of the exhibition.

“As a Geographical Indication (GI) brand, our aim is to enhance awareness of our quality products among both national and international audiences and to increase the packaging of more Khmer salt products. We are keen to participate if the authorities can provide a suitable venue,” he added.