AUTHORITIES are planning to use the deluge of major public holidays in coming weeks to focus attention on the richness of Khmer culture – and away from the lure of the gambling and sex industries, officials say.
In Siem Reap, officials plan to work with the Ministry of Tourism to promote “historic, fantastic events” starting with Khmer New Year this week.
“We hope that our people will not engage in illegal gambling,” said Khim Sarith, secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture. “We should play our traditional games and dances to promote the national culture and attract the interest of international tourists.”
In the coming weeks, officials are also planning festivities in the Angkor Wat area itself to mark Visak Bochea Day as well as the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, which celebrates the start of the rice growing season.
As an added bonus, King Norodom Sihamoni is expected to take part, and tourists will also be allowed to visit the Angkor temples for free during the events, he said.
Thong Khon, the minister of tourism, said he hopes the cultural events will bring “peace and development progress” to Cambodia.