Approximately 500 people participated in the clean-up of Ochheuteal Beach in Preah Sihanouk province for the “Clean and Green Cambodia” event, which aimed to inspire people and businesses to maintain a clean environment to attract tourists in advance of the upcoming sea festival in December.

The one-day event took place on July 10 in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, the provincial Department of Tourism and private companies.

Taing Sochet Krisna, director of the Preah Sihanouk provincial tourism department, said that the main purpose of organizing the campaign was to inspire all business people to participate in maintaining a clean environment around resorts and other areas of the town.

Sochet Krisna said that through the event, the participants were able to gain environmental knowledge and educate others by putting up banners and they also arranged a quiz programme where people could win environment-related prizes as an incentive.

“We have an education dissemination program which has questions and answers related to improving the environment and hygiene as well as the negative impact of rubbish. There was also a clean-up effort along Occheauteal Beach and in commune 4,” he said.

He said that he hoped the event inspired people to participate in maintaining the environment, but also to be ready for the upcoming sea festival while Cambodia prepares to host it on what it hopes will prove to be the most beautiful beaches in the world in December.

“The preparations are on behalf of our candidacy to join the competition for the most beautiful beaches 2023. And we are the host of the convention for the world’s most beautiful beach club that year. So, we call on all people to participate in maintaining the environment and hygiene in town and on the beaches if their businesses are located nearby and to be ready for tourists to visit the province,” he said.

He said that over the past six months, the number of tourists had dramatically increased compared to the same period in 2021, but he said that the number of tourists had now decreased some in July due to weather factors like heavy rains.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy said the event was held to raise the profile of sustainable tourism with a good, hygienic and orderly environment.

“Cleanliness is important for attracting tourists along with strengthening the quality of services, because just as many people like to visit Preah Sihanouk town which has a new and changing face after the infrastructure reforms,” he said.

However, he requested that all stakeholders – not just the authorities or tourists – help by cleaning up the environment because some of the people in town hadn’t yet changed their habits.

“I see that some people have changed their behaviour, while some others haven’t changed at all because we can still see rubbish along the streets, even though the beaches are cleaner,” he said.