Senior officials from some of Cambodia’s major tourism provinces are reporting that public events will be held during New Year’s Eve, albeit with varying degrees of restrictions, as well as the condition that the tourism safety rules and minimum standard operating procedure (SOP) are observed.
Mondulkiri Provincial Administration director Sorn Sarun said the province plans to organise exhibitions and concerts to welcome 2022 and convince people to visit a greater number of attractions.
He said the administration is preparing the street lighting and infrastructure in consideration of the safety and aesthetic experiences of travellers, but warned that tourist accommodations in the province may be lacking.
“The hotels, guesthouses and restaurants that we do have do not always meet demand, leading many to reach out to pagodas. But now people know to bring a tent when they visit, to avoid any problems,” Sarun said.
Siem Reap Provincial Administration director Sun Chamnan said his province is a prime cultural tourism hotspot, and will host events at key locations for sightseers to enjoy and welcome the new year.
With the inauguration of 38 roads and associated infrastructure in Siem Reap scheduled for December 29, Chamnan expects tourists to flock to the province for the New Year countdown tradition.
Kep province, however, is on alert over a possible Covid surge, with no plans to organise events for the season, according to provincial governor Som Piseth.
He advised against large gatherings such as concerts, dances or fairs, but encouraged people to visit the coastal province and practice the recommended preventive measures against Covid-19, and follow other pertinent advice from the health and tourism ministries, and other relevant government bodies.
Similarly, neighbouring Kampot province does not plan to host public events for New Year’s Eve, as a precaution for Covid-19, provincial Department of Tourism director Soy Sinol said.
However, given its wealth of tourist sights and attractions, visitors will throng the province even without any such seasonal events or activities, Sinol predicted.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Sochet Kresna said businesses have been proposing concerts and fairs to the provincial administration for the occasion.
Although Sochet Kresna was unsure if any of the events would get the green light, he expects loads of holidaymakers to take a trip to Preah Sihanouk regardless.
To drive home his point, he noted that many people visited the province during last month’s Water Festival to experience the beautiful beaches and see the ongoing development.
Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak admitted not knowing what any of the provinces are planning for New Year’s Eve, but stressed that provincial administrations are always responsible when they organise such events.
Nonetheless, he told The Post on December 13 that the ministry expects a considerable share of Cambodians to get away to Siem Reap, Mondulkiri and the coastal provinces, noting that the number of people travelling across the Kingdom at the weekend is on the rise, as the Covid-19 situation seemingly improves.