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Angkor Wat ‘like never before’ campaign to revive Siem Reap

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
Tourists visit Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province. KT/Khem Sovannara

The Cambodia Hotel Association has called for people in Cambodia to join its social media campaign to help the recovery of the tourist sector in Siem Reap, a travel hotspot which has been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19.

Dubbed  “#ANGKORLIKENEVERBEFORE”, the campaign involved creating and posting a 30-second video on social media which showcases the “ethereal experience” of visiting Angkor Archaeological Park and the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.

The campaign video, filmed by well-known Hungarian photographer and videographer Antal Gabelics, follows a Cambodian woman twirling in one of the many breathtakingly empty temples, highlighting that the temples are empty and waiting for you.

David-Jaya Piot, president of CHA – Siem Reap Chapter, said this campaign has been launched to attract people, both local and foreign, to come to visit Angkor while they will not be bothered by crowds of other tourists.

“Our new #AngkorLikeNeverBefore” campaign drives home the unique opportunity which remains for domestic tourists,” Piot said. “Only once in a lifetime do you have the chance to have the temples all to yourself. Without the crowds, the temples regain their inexplicable magic.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in Cambodia contributed 35 percent of the country’s GDP, with hundreds of thousands of local workers, talents and hotels being the “backbone” of the industry. However, the sector has run into one of the biggest crises in modern history due to international travel restrictions and fear of the coronavirus.

Cambodia’s famed Angkor Archaeological Park received 399,720 international visitors during the first 11 months of 2020, a decrease of nearly 80 per cent over the same period the year before, according to the state-owned Angkor Enterprise.

However, Cambodia has been globally recognised as “one of the safest countries to visit during the COVID-19 crisis”, with the third lowest number of confirmed cases in the world, thanks to the government’s effective and timely response.

Piot called for tourism-business owners, local people and expats in the Kingdom to join together to help the province’s travel sector by sharing the video and if they can, visiting Angkor during this time.

“Throughout such an experience, the visitors are looking forward to a journey through the eyes of the Cambodian ancestors within the rarest serenity on the land of the former Khmer Empire,” he said.

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