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Thousands expected for Cambodia's Sea Festival

Thousands expected for Cambodia's Sea Festival

120918_09
A man rides a jet ski during last year's Sea Festival in Sihanoukville. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Officials estimate that there will be tens of thousands of participants at the second Sea Festival later this year.

Under the theme “Blue Sea, Green City”, the festival will be begin on December 30 in Kep province.

Officials will attempt to organise at least three or four days of events, such as a trade fair, an international food show and sporting activities centred around Cambodia’s coast, according to Minister of Tourism Thong Khon.

The events and entertainment will help to boost tourists numbers to the coastal area, as last year’s Sea Festival in Preah Sihanouk province saw a 50 per cent increase in tourists to the region, he said.

“Since we organised the Sea Festival last year, we saw a 50 per cent increase in international tourists and local tourists,” he said. “This year, we will hold the festival in Kep province, because we think more tourists will be interested." 

According to a recent report by the Tourism Industry Department, as of June this year, Kep province had only 372 hotel and guesthouse rooms. Seventy are hotel rooms, and 302 rooms are in guesthouses.

Officials estimate that with the expected tens of thousands flocking to Kep, accommodation will be a major problem.

Thong Khon said that they could go to sleep in Kampot, Bokor or stay in hotels on the Cambodia-Vietnam border.

He added that officials will allow private comapanies to run booths for renting accommodation.

“I think there will not be just a few people, but a lot of people attending because Kep is beautiful,” he said. “Even though it is small, it is easy to see the seascape. It is very suitable to hold events.”

Last year, officials estimated that as many as 50,000 tourists spent New Year’s weekend in Sihanoukville.

The celebration of the Sea Festival began last year as a tribute to the Cambodian Bay, which was accepted into the club of the most beautiful bays of the world in May 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]

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