Minister of Tourism Thong Khon led a blessing ceremony for happiness in front of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap province yesterday.
“This ceremony is a traditional ceremony that our former generations of kings and leaders always held, which is to pray for the country to have peace, development and for its people to have better lives,” Mr Khon said. “Peace is the strongest foundation for the development of the country.” Mr Khon said tourist numbers to the kingdom continue to rise, representing the international community’s confidence in the country.
“A country that has tourists and investors coming to invest is a country that is at peace and has political stability, which means it has the confidence of other countries,” he said.
The Supreme Court recently dissolved the opposition CNRP over treason allegations, a charge that has kept it leader Kem Sokha in jail awaiting trial.
The dissolution of the opposition party and the arrest of Mr Sokha have been heavily criticised by the US and some EU countries.
But Mr Khon said by the end of 2017, more than 5.6 million tourists will have visited the country, proof that it is at peace.
Chheng Ngan travelled from Kandal province to attend the ceremony at Angkor Wat.
“I am because I want the country to have peace and prosperity,” she said.
More than 5,000 monks took part in the ceremony, which also included a concert and art performances.