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Siem Reap readies for New Year’s

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Visitors at the Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Siem Reap readies for New Year’s

The Siem Reap Provincial Authority is set to host a range of Gregorian New Year’s events for three days from December 30 to January 1.

But two locations are expected to make the biggest splash this year: the riverside park near the Royal Residence, and the Changkran Roy forest community in Varin district’s Prasat commune north of Siem Reap town.

Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Bunrith told The Post on December 23 that the administration was conjuring up a good time for Cambodians and foreigners alike, with concerts, craft fairs, bazaars and New Year’s Eve fireworks planned for the park.

“If I may say so, the provincial governor and local authorities have whipped up some much-needed shindigs across the province, especially in Siem Reap town, for people to rejoice and welcome 2022,” he said.

Fresh on the heels of a jump in tourists during last month’s Water Festival, Bunrith believes the upcoming festivities will draw even more holidaymakers to the province, but he conceded that fears surrounding the Omicron coronavirus variant would likely keep the number of international arrivals below desired levels.

Provincial governor Tea Seiha announced the events on December 21, a day after Prime Minister Hun Sen declared an end to the Kingdom’s third coronavirus outbreak – dubbed the “February 20 community event”, marking the date it was first detected.

Seiha argued that the celebrations would help empower the province to rehabilitate all of its sectors, and usher in a new chapter in domestic and international tourism.

Street and traffic lights are being installed throughout the province, and a wide array of festive decorations are being put up along the road and at the riverside park, he said, adding that the 38-road infrastructure project was on track to be completed before the revelries kick off, as planned.

Cambodia Hotel Association president Din Somethearith told The Post on December 23 that it is typical for the provincial capital and tourism hub to organise such events, which he said take into account the preferences of Cambodians and foreigners alike. He underlined that these make for an ideal tourist getaway in the province.

And if a large number of people were to choose the province for their New Year trip, the local economy would also enjoy a sizeable windfall, he suggested.

“Our people are fully stressed out due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now our country is easing [regulations] and reopening, and I get that everyone wants to go out. These global New Year’s Eve celebrations organised by the Siem Reap [administration] are the perfect occasion for our people to take a trip.”

Buoyed by similar events nationwide, demand for food, accommodation and entertainment is very likely to see a major spike during the holiday, which will create a positive impact on provincial tourism industries and economies, Somethearith predicted.

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