Following the conclusion of the Water Festival, Prime Minister Hun Manet announced that the three days of celebrations went smoothly and that the atmosphere of the Phnom Penh festivities had been pleasant. 

He noted that domestic and international visitors had joined the government in preserving Khmer tradition and culture, and that together, they had all created smiles on their faces like a large Khmer family.

In a November 29 social media post, Manet thanked all of the working groups and security forces for accepting the responsibility of organising every aspect of the event in such a spectacular, beautiful manner.

“The fact that the Water Festival was such a success is thanks to the significant contributions of all of the working groups, as well as all of the members of the armed forces who dedicated their time and energy to guaranteeing happiness, safety and public order. This made the national celebrations festive and joyous for all,” he said. 

He thanked the many performing artists who appeared during the festival for their energetic dances and musical acts.

“My wife and I were pleased to join in the 2023 water festival. This year saw a large number of people travelling to Phnom Penh from the provinces, as well as many foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, all joining together for the three-day celebrations,” he added. 

Hong Menea

The prime minister thanked the organising committee and boat racers for the excellent boat racing events and spectacular illuminated lantern barge displays.

Government spokesman Pen Bona said on November 29 that the success of the water festival marked another large achievement for the seventh mandate government, led by Manet. 

In a social media post, he described the three-day celebrations as festive and joyous, with millions of Cambodian and foreign visitors joining in the noisy celebrations in Phnom Penh and provinces. 

He said that peace, along with social, political and economic stability provided the foundation for the revelry of Cambodians and foreign tourists. The number of tourists had grown and the livelihoods of the people have improved. Therefore, they were happy and had hopeful smiles for the fate of their future. 

“This marked another indisputable achievement of the government. We record this new achievement in addition to the many others it has accomplished for the nation and its people, under the auspices of the King, and with the strong support of all Cambodians,” he added. 

Hong Menea

Chey Tech, an independent socio-economic analyst, said that this year’s water festival – back after a three-year hiatus – was the happiest one he had seen. The celebrations saw a lot of boat races and huge crowds, but people from all over the Kingdom had enjoyed the occasion in total safety.

He added that because the festivals were well organised, they made a significant contribution to the national economy, as well as to the preservation of Cambodian traditions. Thanks to the Kingdom’s peace and development, the livelihoods of people have improved, so they are able to travel throughout the nation.

“Water Festival was an occasion which preserved our culture and tradition, as well as encouraging solidarity among the people. In addition, the celebrations were economic stimulants because the massive crowds brought in income for small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” he continued.

He added that the number of people who travelled for the national holiday had also made a strong contribution to the recovery of the tourism sector.