Local tourists travelling to the main destinations during the three-day Water Festival are expected to greatly increase, as insiders say hotel and guesthouses are fully booked.
The northeastern provinces, Siem Reap and the coastal provinces are expected to attract more tourists during this period.
Srey Leak, a receptionist at Siem Reap’s Angkor Pal Boutique Hotel, said nearly 80 per cent of the hotel rooms are currently booked.
“In the coming few days the boat races will start. But now 26 out of 33 rooms are all booked – most by local patrons,” she said.
Although room bookings have increased from last year, Srey Leak said prices have not. “During the Water Festival this year, our hotel’s room prices have not risen because there are hotels and gusest houses almost everywhere.”
Mey Sokunthea, the manager of Avocado Guesthouse in Sen Monorom town, Mondulkiri province, said her guesthouse with more than 10 rooms has all been booked.
“Many guests [call] the hotel to book the rooms every day,” Sokunthea said.
She expects a high number of tourists to visit Mondulkiri this year because of two major factors – good infrastructure and visitors avoiding Sihanouk province’s coastal area.
The manager of the 16-room Chuncheat House Eco-Lodge in Mondulkiri province said the guesthouse has been completely booked for a month, with room prices ranging from over $20 to $50 per night.
“The Water Festival this year will have a lot of visitors going to the northeast. I know this because hotels and guesthouses there are almost fully booked,” she said.
Borey Bokor Guesthouse general manager Ing Somaly said Kampot province saw an increase in tourists over the last two years.
“My guesthouses are already full. Rooms in Kampot town during national holidays are normally full.”
The provincial tourism department director Soy Sinol said there is a total of 3,000 hotel rooms in Kampot.
However, in Preah Sihanouk province, tourism industry insiders said the Chinese-dominated coastal province did not see such a trend.
Sok Sovuthsina, a receptionist at Onederz Hostel Sihanoukville, said his guesthouse has not received any reservations for the upcoming Water Festival.
“I think the number of tourists during the coming Water Festival in Sihanouk province is not increasing, as most of the locals have switched [their destination] from here to elsewhere,” he said.
Preah Sihanouk provincial tourism department director Taing Sochet Kresna said while the number of local tourists who visited Sihanouk province during Pchum Ben decreased, he expects the number to recover during the Water Festival.
“For the upcoming Water Festival, I expect the number of local tourists going to Sihanouk province to grow by a lot as the authorities have been working hard to make infrastructure, environment and security better in the province.”
According to Sochet Kresna, there are currently about 4,000 hotel rooms and an equal number of guest rooms in Sihanoukville.