Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Water Fest eyes foreign visitors

Water Fest eyes foreign visitors

Workers on the riverfront at Sisowath Quay prepare a light display for the first Water Festival to be held in Phnom Penh since 2010
Workers on the riverfront at Sisowath Quay prepare a light display for the first Water Festival to be held in Phnom Penh since 2010. Hong Menea

Water Fest eyes foreign visitors

Expecting thousands of international tourists to travel to Phnom Penh for the first Water Festival held since 2010, the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals plans to set up several services catering specifically to foreigners.

State-run Agence Kampuchea Presse reported yesterday that the Ministry of Tourism is working with several travel agencies to provide translation, preferential seating and other services for foreign visitors.

“This festival is very colourful compared to Pchum Ben, compared to Khmer New Year,” Kem Gunawadh, director-general of state-run television station TVK, told the Post. “Everybody comes to see" the boat races.

Gunawadh, who has covered each Water Festival since 1989, yesterday said traffic jams are the largest concern for the city, as both Cambodian and foreign tourists flock into Phnom Penh. Of Cambodia’s major holidays, the festival draws the most tourists into the capital, he said.

Much of TVK’s broadcast will be filmed from a concrete border on the east side of the festival, to get shots amid the hordes of people, Gunawadh said.

Four officials from the Tourism Ministry either referred questions from a Post reporter to other administrators within the ministry or could not be reached.

In addition to tourist-friendly outposts, police will step up security during the three-day festival beginning on November 5, National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said last week.

There will be some 2,000 military police on hand for the festival, and additional forces deployed in the capital will handle issues ranging from traffic to unexpected accidents, according to Tito.

A stampede at the last Water Festival, held nearly four years ago, led to the deaths of 353 people on a bridge leading to Koh Pich, or Diamond Island. The deaths occurred when panic broke out on a desperately overcrowded and bottle-necked bridge.

Last year, 1.7 million more foreign tourists visited Cambodia than in 2010, the year the stampede occurred, according to data released by the Ministry of Tourism.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reports: Rainsy barred from Jakarta flight

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party’s announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy

  • Government studying EU’s preliminary report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said the government was studying the EU Commission’s preliminary report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom that could lead to a suspension of access to its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. The

  • Phnom Penh International Airport wins award as passenger traffic soars

    The Phnom Penh International Airport has been awarded Best Asia Pacific Regional Airport 2019 for its sustained high growth in passenger traffic in recent years. The award was presented by the Capa Centre for Aviation (Capa) – a world-leading and trusted organisation that provides market intelligence to

  • Gov’t: Rainsy’s ‘coup plot’ a failure

    The government on Wednesday commended the Kingdom’s security forces for thwarting the attempted “coup plot” by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy through his announced return to Cambodia on November 9. The comments came as Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue

  • PM responds to Rainsy ticket claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday expressed frustration over claims by Sam Rainsy that he had altered Rainsy’s ticket with Thai Airways to prevent him boarding his November 7 flight to Thailand, from where he had claimed he would enter Cambodia. Hun Sen made the

  • Chinese tourists lead international visitors

    Chinese tourists again topped the list of foreign visitors to Cambodia during the first nine months of this year, with the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday reporting a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year. The Kingdom received 4.81 million international tourists in that