A large cruise liner docked at Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukvill Autonomous Port on November 4. The Norwegian-flagged vessel departed late in the afternoon the following day.

Taing Sochet Kresna, director of the provincial tourism department, said the hospitality team offered a warm welcome to the tourists, and ensured that their two-day visit to the Kingdom was safe, secure and comfortable.

He added that the cruise liner, named Viking Orion, was crewed by 469 staff of 50 nationalities, and carried 868 passengers from 18 different countries.

Sochet Kresna noted that before arriving in Cambodia, the vessel had called in on several ports in Vietnam. Following its time in the Kingdom, the ship had sailed for Thailand.

“On behalf of the tourism department, I call on the operators of all tourism-related businesses to maintain the high standards of service and hygiene that future guests deserve. They should decorate their premises in traditional ways, and offer goods and services at reasonable prices. Price tags should also be displayed, to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure that tourists enjoy their stay and will return to visit us in the future,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk deputy governor Long Dimanche said the international arrivals from the liner explored several resort areas along the coast, as well as some islands and ancient pagodas.

He said the authorities took care to maintain a secure environment for their guests, adding that he had instructed vendors in shops and markets to sell their goods at reasonable prices in order to avoid exorbitant price tags which could affect the holidaymakers’ sentiments about the country.

“I advised all traders to sell clean, healthy products at reasonable prices. The tourists who came to visit on this occasion will spread the word about Cambodia’s excellent reputation, especially in Preah Sihanouk. This could be an important factor in boosting tourism during the high season,” he continued.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin believes the docking of the giant cruise liner is a positive sign for the Kingdom’s tourism sector, especially in the coastal province.

In addition to its overall tourism strategies, she said the government also pays close attention to attracting short-term visitors, such as those who do not stay for long periods but arrive by the thousands on cruise ships.

“Any incentives we can employ to increase the number of short-term tourists will pay dividends. The visitors will get to visit our resort areas and enjoy the Kingdom’s delicious food, while the state will earn income from the docking of the vessels,” she said.