The provincial tourism departments across the country said over 1.1 million domestic tourists visited different tourist attractions throughout the Kingdom for the New Year holiday.

According to the departments, the number totalled 1,145,141, with 1,139,387 domestic tourists and 5,754 international foreign visitors. The majority of them visited Siem Reap and the coastal towns.

Nearly 190,000 tourists, most of them domestic, celebrated New Year’s Eve in Siem Reap. The provincial tourism department said on January 1 that nearly 76 per cent of the celebrants were locals with 140,000 to 150,000 in attendance along with another 40,000 to 50,000 tourists visiting the province.

“As noted, the family-friendly travel options reflect the Cambodian people’s willingness to live within the new normal in the context of Covid-19 where caution is the key to prosperity,” it said.

It added that about 170,000 tourists visited the Angkor resort over the holiday and about 5,000 tourists visited the Phnom Kulen National Park while 14,000 visited community-based tourism and eco-tourism areas.

In the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk, authorities said that on December 31 there were approximately 52,717 tourists from other provinces who visited the beaches of Sihanoukville from Ochheuteal Beach II to the popular Deurm Chheur Chamsne Beach, putting up tents, chairs and mats to welcome in the new year next to the ocean.

“Along the public beaches, the tourists have put up tents or mats. The number of tourists who came to visit Preah Sihanouk province for New Year’s Eve was 52,717, which was an increase over the recent Water Festival,” the provincial hall said.

It said the provincial authorities took measures to protect security and public order by patrolling the beaches and being stationed at the main intersections in Sihanoukville.

It added that the guesthouses and hotels on the main streets of Sihanoukville were fully booked, while bungalows on the province’s islands had also been fully booked since Christmas.

Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, told The Post on January 2 that the increase in local tourism activity was a positive sign for the industry and could be viewed as the successful re-launch of tourism in the Kingdom post-pandemic, which also indicated the potential for attracting international tourists from the ASEAN community, something for which he gave a great deal of credit for to the government and Ministry of Tourism.

“The ASEAN community is ready to take a positive view of Cambodia. We can show photos from the New Year’s celebrations in Cambodia to promote international tourism so that more people will come to visit Cambodia from ASEAN countries in 2022,” he said, adding that growth in the tourism sector was crucial for providing livelihoods to large numbers of people in the Kingdom.