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Siem Reap hopes for local tourism

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A hotel in Siem Reap sits empty while tourism authorities work to attract domestic visitors. Post staff

Siem Reap hopes for local tourism

Guesthouses and restaurants are gradually reopening in Siem Reap province, a world-renowned cultural tourism site famous for its Angkor-era temples after Covid-19 forced many businesses in the area to shut down.

At a press conference at the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, the director of the provincial tourism department Ngov Sengkak said authorities are working hard to promote domestic tourism since international tourism has been almost completely wiped out by Covid-19.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are promoting community tourism sites in preparation to welcome our Cambodian visitors,” he said.

Currently, 40 hotels and 66 guesthouses in the province are operating their businesses as usual and are hopeful that local tourists will visit.

In total, 230 hotels and 261 guesthouses are licensed to do business in the province, he said.

Sengkak said: “We find that people are more likely to visit community-based tourism sites. We now have five land-based, community-based, tourism sites and six offshore ones.”

Ministry spokesman Top Sopheak said although some business activities have resumed, karaoke clubs remain closed.

Sopheak said authorities are continuing to enforce virus prevention measures such as maintaining hygiene, social distancing and wearing face masks.

He said: “The current situation, even in Cambodia, is a little bit eased, but there are restrictions on travelling abroad, so we’re not seeing many international visitors. We’re seeing that local tourism plays an important role in supporting the tourism business.”

An employee of the three-star Angkor Vattanak Pheap Hotel in Siem Reap said some hotels are gradually reopening, but tourists have yet to arrive.

“We get about one to two guests per day for $15 per night. We only opened about 10 rooms downstairs because we can’t afford to pay the electricity bill.”

From January to May 386,093 foreign tourists bought tickets to visit the Angkor Archaeological Park, down 65.46 per cent year-on-year, according to the Angkor Enterprise.

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