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Sea Festival to go ahead in Preah Sihanouk province at end of the year

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
Foreign tourists visiting an exhibition at the Sea Festival in Kampot province 2019. Supplied

The government has announced that the Sea Festival, an annual event which has previously attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to Cambodia’s coastal area, will make its return this year to Preah Sihanouk province after being postponed last year due to COVID-19.

In September last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the decision to cancel the ninth annual Sea Festival, which was supposed to have taken place in the coastal province at the end of the year, in order to protect tourists and citizens from contracting the virus.

However, the Ministry of Tourism yesterday announced on its official Facebook page that the festival will be held at the end of this year in Preah Sihanouk province. It also said that Tourism Minister Thong Khon and Preah Sihanouk governor Kuoch Chamroeun held a meeting yesterday to ensure that the event “will be more special than the previous years”.

Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearum told Khmer Times that as the result of yesterday’s meeting, it was decided that this year’s Sea Festival will be celebrated at the 13 kilometre Poy Chumteav Mao Beach in Prey Nop district, which the Tourism Ministry has planned to turn into a new popular tourist attraction in the province.

Meanwhile, the exact date and the details of the festival will be discussed later, Phearum added.

“The Sea Festival is among the large events that the provincial administration had to postpone last year due to the uncertain COVID-19 situation,” he said.

“However, recently, we have seen that the pandemic situation in Cambodia has much improved, which thus allows us to bring back the Sea Festival this year.”

Despite this, Phearum said the festival will be celebrated with strict adherence to preventive measures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set by the Tourism and Health ministries.

“The festival will feature performances, sport events, a trade fair showing the products made by tourist communities and so on,” he added.

In the past year, the impact of the coronavirus has struck the tourist and travelling sector, causing a drop of 80 percent in international tourists compared to 2019. While local tourism-related businesses are relying on local travellers, Phearum said Preah Sihanouk province has seen a very high number of local tourists, especially on New Year’s Eve, on which an influx of people came to the beach for the countdown.

“We have been doing our best to improve the quality and beauty of our tourist attractions as well as the infrastructure and we are confident that this year’s festival will be a very special one,” he said.

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