Following strong instructions from the government on security measures, the 2017 Sea Festival in Kep was a success for both visitors and authorities.
Held from December 22 to 24, the festival was a celebration of Cambodia’s coastline, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying Cambodia has been recognized as having the most beautiful bays in the world.
The government named the bays in Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot and Kep as the “rising star in the Southwest,” with the potential to attract almost as many tourists as the Angkor Wat temples.
Mr Hun Sen said the celebration was an opportunity to make the coastline a top tourist destination, generating income and improving living standards.
Mr Hun Sen said authorities must not let Cambodian beaches become a place for drugs or terrorism, which would destroy the safety of national and international tourists.
The Prime Minister instructed relevant ministries and local authorities to do all they could to make tourism in the area sustainable, and to maintain security.
“Do not let the Cambodian sea become the harbour of drugs, human trafficking and transnational crimes,” Mr Hun Sen said. “We need to work with neighbouring countries like Vietnam and Thailand to ensure our seas have no illegal or terrorist activities.”
He also urged authorities at all levels to preserve the environment and build more tourism-friendly infrastructure such as roads, railways, airways, and also insisted that hotels pay attention to buying natural products from local vendors.
Choun Narin, Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief, said his forces would crack down on anyone willing to disturb the safety of coastal provinces.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said that in the first ten months of the year, Cambodia’s coastal areas welcomed more than 610,000 international tourists.
Mr Khon said that according to projections, the coastline could see about 750,000 international tourists and 2.6 million national tourists next year.