The Tourism Ministry has urged tourism departments in all provinces and tour operators across the country to promote the Sangkranta festivals widely to attract locals and foreigners to the events.
The sixth event of its kind since it started in 2013, the Angkor Sangkranta will run from Saturday to Monday, the days of the Khmer New Year, according to the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC).
The body is responsible for managing and organising the Angkor Sangkranta in Siem Reap province.
Other provinces would hold the Sangkranta festival this year, said Sok Sabayna of UYFC’s executive committee, adding that about two million of Cambodian and foreign tourists were expected to attend the Angkor Sangkranta festivals.
The events are expected to generate about $200 million from tourism.
The call for provincial tourism departments and tourism associations to promote provincial Sangkranta festivals came from a meeting on Friday chaired by Chea Bora, secretary of state at the Tourism Ministry.
“Tourism departments in provinces and city and tourism associations have to join in promoting Sangkranta festivals by any means – in media channels and at commercial outlets for tourists at hotels and restaurants,” Mr Bora said.
Angkor Sangkranta is organised to celebrate Khmer New Year in Siem Reap province, home of the Angkor temples.
It is aims to show off the solidarity of the Cambodian family as a whole and to contribute to maintaining Cambodian tradition, culture and custom.
Vann Sarath, director of the provincial tourism department of Svay Rieng, which will conduct the Sangkranta festival for the second time this year, said the celebration was bigger than last year with an estimated 500,000 holidaymakers predicted to join the three-day festival in the province.
“We have experienced the celebration of the Sangkranta festival last year, so this year we expect to see number of people in the event will increase,” Mr Sarath said. “With good preparation for the festival, the number of people will increase for certain.”
Mr Sarath said people attending the festival were mostly locals because the province lacked tourism sites for foreigners and because the province was just a transit gate for foreigners to cross on their way from Phnom Penh to Vietnam.
The province-based festival was important for local people to attend and enjoy while local business showcased their products that would generate income for them, Mr Sarath said.
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said she highly valued the Sangkranta festivals as a main factor to drive the tourism sector.
“Of course, people will start to join the Sangkranta festivals because the event features colourful culture, including popular games, traditional cuisine, and other traditional norms,” Ms Sivlin said.
“When we have interest in festivals like Sangkranta, local people will change their habit of travelling abroad during long holiday like Khmer New Year. They will visit locally.”
Other provinces holding the festivals this year include Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Kandal, Prey Veng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie and Kampong Chhnang, along with Phnom Penh.
UYFC says the Sangkranta festival in each province receives support from UYFC in collaboration with local authorities.