Occupancy rates in the hospitality industry will skyrocket in upcoming days, with hotels fully or nearly fully booked in Siem Reap province and in the coast as visitors travel during Khmer New Year, according to hotel representatives across the country.
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Kham Serey Chantha, director of sales and marketing for the Pacific Hotel in Siem Reap, said 90 percent of his hotel’s 200 rooms are already booked. He said most bookings, as much as 80 percent, have been made by travel agents.
“From April 13 to 16, we have very few rooms left, as some customers have reserved a week in advance,” Mr Chantha said, adding that they are reserving 10 percent of their rooms for walk-in customers during the holidays.
Most guests during Khmer New Year will be Cambodian, Chinese or European, he explained.
Nuon Teviphea, general manager of the Aspara Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap, said, “So far, we have 20 rooms out of 100 already booked, but we hope by April 14 all of them will be taken.”
Most bookings have been made by travel agencies, with the majority of guests being locals, Chinese and Korean, Mr Teviphea explained.
The situation in the coast is similar. Most hotels are booked out, particularly in Preah Sihanouk province, according to hotel managers contacted by Khmer Times.
Chhoun Bunthen, sales manager of the Thaiyang Chhen Hotel in Sihanoukville, said all their rooms have been reserved in advance by casinos for their customers.
“We are fully booked for the whole month. We are getting a lot of calls from people that want to reserve a room, but unfortunately we don’t have any space left,” Mr Bunthen said, adding that most of his guests during the holidays will be Chinese.
Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), told Khmer Times that locals are flocking to the coast during Khmer New Year, particularly to some of the paradisiacal islands off the coast of Preah Sihanouk province.
“Locals are targeting the islands in the south of the country, and most hotels and guesthouses in these islands are already booked out.”
Those still in need of accommodation during the holidays will be better advised to travel to the west of the country, where, according to Mr Sinan, occupancy rates are much lower.
“Do not worry about a lack of accommodation in Battambang, Modulkiri or Ratanakkiri during Khmer New Year. It won’t be a problem in these areas,” he said.
The Sangke Hotel in Battambang, for example, has no bookings to speak of as of yesterday, according to a representative of the hotel. The hotel has over 100 rooms.
According to a report from the Ministry of Tourism, by the end 2017 Cambodia had a total of 781 hotels (134 more than in 2016) and 2,255 guesthouses. Siem Reap alone was home to 225 hotels and 316 guesthouses.
Cambodia’s top tourist destinations recorded a record number of visitors during last year’s Khmer New Year, with 2.5 million locals and foreigners travelling to celebrate the festival around the country.