Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has instructed the Battambang Provincial Administration to continue preparing gardens and planting saplings in the town, especially alongside the Sangke River, to promote an attractive green environment.

This would please tourists during major festivals, he said while addressing the October 10 closing ceremony of a boat racing event marking the Water Festival in Battambang town.

He added that the Sangker River not only serves as a vital waterway for the dry season propagation of rice, but also raised the profile of the town and attracted tourists.

He suggested that the administration and residents maintain the cleanliness of the riverside and carry on with beautification work.

He added that the work would attract international and national tourists and provide the people in the town with greater incomes, through the creation of new jobs in restaurants, guesthouses and resorts.

For the first stage, he suggested that authorities focus on the river banks, from the provincial hall to the stone bridge and main thoroughfare on National Road 5.

“I hope that in the future, thanks to our efforts, Battambang will earn the status of a green town. We will need to work together to plant lush green trees all around the town. Once the trees are established, they will help the environment by absorbing heat and carbon monoxide. This will also be good for public health,” he added.

Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post on October 11 that preparations are now underway following Sar Kheng’s instructions. Members of the public are also prepared to begin planting fresh saplings in public places and at pagodas, he said.

“Green towns are very attractive to tourists. We are already a very popular destination for tourists during the major festivals, but [Sar Kheng] has suggested a way which we could develop ourselves even further,” he added.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the September 16-18 Pchum Ben public holiday saw 1,112,403 tourists travelling across the country, with Battambang logging the most visitors at 134,440.