The Kingdom’s major tourism destinations attracted more than a half a million tourists during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, bringing the total number of tourists nationwide to three million, according to Ministry of Tourism figures.

Coastal areas and Siem Reap province attracted a total of 671,063 tourists – of which 64,897 were foreign – according to the ministry.

Broken down by provinces, Siem Reap saw 284,031 tourists – of which 28,070 were foreign – during New Year’s Eve, while Sihanoukville received 115,500 visitors, of which 94,654 were Cambodian.

Kep and Kampot provinces were the next most attractive destinations, receiving a total of 152,728 and 96,813 visitors respectively.

‘People enjoy travelling’

Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Socheat Kroesna said the coastal provinces are key players in attracting more national and international tourists to the Kingdom, particularly Preah Sihanouk province.

“We always celebrate festivals and international New Year’s Eve to attract more foreign and local tourists to enjoy a good time at the beach,” he said. “In the mean time, we also try to improve infrastructure and provide good hospitality to meet the market’s demands in order to make tourists stay longer on holiday here.”

The ministry also provided training to those in the hospitality sector to promote tourism awareness, he added.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Siv Lin said the Kingdom’s stability and economic growth is boosting the number of tourists.

“We have good infrastructure and security. Year to year, more and more people enjoy travelling here."

“We need to promote quality services and good hospitality, as well as create more tourism products – including local products – to provide good memories for tourists to take home,” she said.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon estimated in early December that the Kingdom’s coastal provinces would receive 4.42 million tourists by the end of last year, with international tourists reaching 920,000.

Speaking at Koh Kong province’s Sea Festival, he projected that next year coastal provinces will attract 1.2 million foreign and 4.5 million domestic visitors.

The minister added that coastal provinces will receive three million international and six million domestic tourists by 2030.