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Thousands expected to visit Kep sea festival

Thousands expected to visit Kep sea festival

At least 20,000 tourists and travellers will participate in the so-called “sea festival” at the end of this year, officials at the Kep province tourism department said.

The two-day event, which started in 2011 as a tourism booster for the country’s coasts and beaches, was cancelled last year due to the death of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk in October.

Som Chenda, director of the Kep province tourism department, said the government decided to hold the festival on December 7 and 8 in Kep, and it will include sporting activities, a trade fair, fashion shows and concerts.

The first sea festival, held in Preah Sihanouk province in 2011, attracted thousands of tourists. This year, however, accommodation might pose a problem.

“We have experience from Sihanoukville province, which has a lot of hotels and guesthouses but still faced a shortage of accommodations during this event,” he said. “Kep province has less than Sihanoukville and will definitely feel the shortages a lot.”

Chenda said one way officials might deal with the tight squeeze is to market the use of hotels in nearby Kampot or Preah Sihanouk, a little more than an hour’s drive away from Kep.

Uy Vunly, owner of the 13-room Champey Sar guesthouse in Kep, is betting on an increase in visitors over the festival weekend.

Chenda said that at the same time of the sea festival, Cambodia will also host the meeting of the general assembly of the Most Beautiful Bay, a club headquartered in Paris that promotes beach destinations in 30 countries.

The whole Cambodian coastline was recognised as a member of the club on May 26, 2011.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said in May that ministers from all over the world will attend the meeting of the general assembly.

“It’s a new opportunity to promote our beaches on an international stage.”

The number of tourist arrivals increased by about 19 per cent in the first half of this year, reaching over two million tourists at the end of June, data from the Ministry of Tourism show.

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