Siem Reap authorities plan to hold events every weekend to attract tourism as well as offer more to locals in a bid to bring back well-needed income for local businesses.
Director of Siem Reap Provincial Department of Tourism Ngov Sengkak presented these plans during his presentation at a news conference in which he spoke about how tourism had coped throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The director said that these plans will only go ahead with the close cooperation of the relevant people which includes government partner organisations as well as businesses in the tourism sector. Sengkak revealed that in the future these events will not only go ahead in Siem Reap but they will also organise tour packages to nearby destinations such as Phnom Kulen, Banteay Srei and Prey Krom.
“We want families and groups of friends to enjoy activities such as mountain biking, camping, boating, cooking classes and other fun activities,” said Sengkak.
He expects these plans would greatly benefit local people and communities by recovering tourism revenue lost over the past eight months because of the virus, although he says safety will come first.
“Even though we really want to push ahead with these plans, we do realise that the world as well as Cambodia has not fully recovered from COVID-19. Because of this, strict safety measures must be put in place for this plan to go ahead,” added Senghak.
Siem Reap is seen as a must-visit destination for Southeast Asia visitors for its World Heritage-listed Angkor Wat and surrounding temples, but the city started seeing signs of a slowdown last year, including fewer tourists, decreasing Angkor park ticket sales and hotels closing down.
Things did seem to pick up though in August when the postponed Khmer New Year holiday went ahead. The streets of Siem Reap where full to the brim causing Pub Street to be closed down early amid fears of a lack of social distancing.
Domestic tourist movements during the five-day holiday injected an estimated $100 million into the tourism sector in Cambodia.
The figure was released at a meeting to review domestic tourist activities during the five-day holiday, under the chairmanship of Minister of Tourism Thong Khon.
Siem Reap cultural province attracted the most visitors during the Khmer New Year break from Aug 17 to 21. According to a report from the Ministry of Tourism, 214,047 people visited Siem Reap province.