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Provinces target tourists for NYE

Tourists take photos around Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat comple
Tourists take photos around Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat complex in August. Siem Reap is one of many provinces preparing for the seasonal influx of tourists. Hong Menea

Provinces target tourists for NYE

Cambodia's popular tourist destinations, both old and new, have ramped up their New Year’s Eve celebrations in order to attract more foreign tourists this year.

Tourist-favourite Siem Reap has expanded their celebrations from last year, according to Khem Bunsong, governor of Siem Reap province.

“The celebration this year will be a bit bigger from last year, as we have expanded lighting decoration to most part of the town. The hotels, guest houses and restaurants are also preparing a handful of activities,” he said.

“The private sectors this year [did] a better job to decorate their places to welcome the New Year. I expect the crowd to be bigger, because as far as I know, hotels and guest houses [are] already full booked for today and tomorrow.”

The focus of Siem Reap’s celebrations will be Pub Street and the Siem Reap Night Market, Bunsong said. Fireworks will also be shot off from the old stone bridge. Siem Reap’s temples, however, will not be decorated for the holiday.

Up-and-coming tourist destination Battambang will hold its first ever New Year’s Eve festivities today. Though the province is known for its colonial architecture and bamboo train, Uch Omthiny Sara, director of the Battambang Tourism Department, hopes the celebrations will attract more foreigners to the province.

“This year we organised [the event] as part of global trend. I hope the crowd to the province will be big for this time’s celebration,” Sara said.

Battambang collaborated with Thailand’s Tourism Association to promote their event and attract more visitors travelling to Cambodia from Koh Chang and Pattaya, and through the crossing at Poipet, according to Sara.

Earlier this year, Battambang set up a Pub Street and a Night Market like the ones found in Siem Reap province. These locations will be the focus of the festivities.

“The whole event will be held within the Night Market area from 6pm to 12am. This is the very first time the province has organised such an event to attract visitors. I expect the crowd to be big this year. Foreign tourists have already started hanging around the province in the last few days,” he said.

Celebrations will also include a concert, flying lanterns and circus performances.

In Sihanoukville, New Year’s Eve will be much like last year, according to Nou Sophal, director of the Sihanoukville Department of Tourism. He expects the event to bring in 70,000 visitors over three days.

The town has organised an exhibition, a concert and decorations, with a focus on the popular Ochheuteal Beach. Private resorts have also organsied events.

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