It’s been a closely guarded secret but word is now out that this year’s Royal Ploughing Ceremony is being moved from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, where it will be held near the Royal Terraces at Angkor Thom, with the King officiating.
A stage is under construction, dancers have been commissioned, and hotels are promoting bookings for the big event, which this year falls on May 2.
The shift of locale this year is quite a big deal, yet little publicity about it has been generated.
Some sources say the move is a hint that the palace is signalling displeasure at recent events. Other sources say that royal convention is re-asserting itself. This is further strengthened by the choice of venue in Siem Reap, near the site of the palace that housed firstly King Suryavarman I, and then King Jayavarman VII who extended the place with several terraces to the east.
But whatever the reason, the shift of the ceremony to Siem Reap this year will add more colour and glamour to temple town and boost tourism revenue.
La Residence d’Angkor has now become a member of the upscale Mr And Mrs Smith Hotels collection. Unfortunately, the Smith company is a little lax with its spelling in its press release, listing La Residence as “a tropical courtyard haven in Siam Reap.”
Meanwhile, Peter Nicholas Lucas is the new executive assistant manager at Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, effective from April 12.
Lucas has worked in the hospitality industry for the past 13 years, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree specialising in hospitality management and marketing. During this time he has trained and worked in many five-star chain hotels namely Hilton, Swiss Grand and Conrad.
The call has gone out for submissions for this year’s sixth annual Angkor Photo Festival in November. Françoise Callier, the festival’s program coordinator, has declared that the deadline for submitting work is May 28, and that all photographers will receive an answer by the end of July.