Residents made more than two million domestic trips in the three days from December 31 to January 2, an over 74 per cent year-on-year surge, with the capital and Siem Reap province ranking as the top destinations, according to Ministry of Tourism secretary of state Top Sopheak.
Sopheak told The Post on January 3: “The jump in domestic tourism on the occasion of the international New Year’s is a positive sign for the full-scale resumption of the sector after the Royal Government marked the end of the February 20 Community Event.
“This brings great hope to actors in the sector, signalling that things are gradually returning to normal,” he said.
Siem Reap provincial Department of Tourism director Ngov Sengkak shared that Cambodians and foreign residents accounted for 287,000 and 837 domestic trips to the province over the three days, respectively, of which he said just 25-35 per cent originated from the capital.
He said Angkor Archaeological Park and Phnom Kulen National Park saw 247,000 and 14,400 visits, adding that 25,600 people travelled to the province’s community-based tourism, eco-tourism and similar destinations.
“In Siem Reap town, most national and international tourists would visit Pub Street each international New Year’s prior to Covid, but this season there were more Cambodian holidaymakers in the area than you’d see before the pandemic,” Sengkak pointed out.
The department expects the number of travellers to the province to rise year-on-year in 2022 – but stay below pre-pandemic levels – at an increasingly faster pace as more infrastructure projects complete.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Sochet Kresna said holidaymakers made more than 100,000 domestic trips to the coastal province over December 31-January 1, up by around 60 per cent year-on-year.
“Most tourists went to the beaches and islands, in addition to some other natural attractions,” he said, noting that no passengers arrived at Sihanouk International Airport on January 1.
Mondulkiri provincial tourism department director Ngin Sovimean said residents made 18,996 trips to the verdant biodiverse northeastern province over December 31-January 1, a 77.30 per cent year-on-year uptick from 10,714. Cambodians and foreigners accounted for 18,955 (up 79.53 per cent year-on-year) and 41 (down 73.71 per cent).
“Bou Sra waterfall and Sea Forest Resort emerged as the top destinations,” he said, adding: “The safety measures prepared by the provincial administration are well observed.”
The ministry noted that hotels, guesthouses, resorts and bungalows were almost fully booked during the New Year’s weekend, that domestic tourism is trending back up, and that more local tourism-oriented businesses were reopening.