Khmer New Year Travel Drives Big Jump in Tourism Sector

As the Khmer New Year holiday approached last weekend, officials and key insiders had high hopes that the surge in holiday travel would contribute to developing the tourism sector in top destinations nationwide.

From the cultural landscape of Siem Reap province to the coastal provinces in the southwestern part of the country, and from highland areas to eco-tourism destinations, there was indeed an influx of domestic tourism during the Khmer New Year holiday, according to Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents.

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The heatwave weather in April pushed more visitors to coastal provinces during the holiday, as people preferred tourist sites surrounding or nearby water sources, Sivlin told Khmer Times.

“In the long holiday like Khmer New Year, people intended to travel extensively to tourism destinations due to infrastructure connections, improved earnings, and attractive tourism sites,” she said.

“People traveling during the holiday contributed to the tourism sector domestically, boosting community-based businesses because when people traveled, they needed services such as transportation, accommodation, food, and other services,” she added.

The traditional Khmer New Year holiday fell on April 13-16 this year.

To welcome Khmer New Year, known locally as Bon Chul Chnam Thmey, Phnom Penh, provinces, and cities were decorated with national flags, flowers, and posters, as well as star-shaped lights, adding color to roads and every corner of cities, bringing joy to local people.

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During those days, businesses and government offices closed, allowing government officials, people, students, private companies’ staff, and garment workers to celebrate the traditional festival and enjoy their holiday.

Sankranta, which was held last year in Siem Reap province, was celebrated in provinces and cities nationwide, allowing people to enjoy the joyous festivities during Khmer New Year.

Kampot province, one of the coastal provinces, saw an increase in the influx of tourists during the holiday.

“With new tourism products created, many attractive tourism resorts, and infrastructure connections enabling people to travel, Kampot province was ready to welcome arrivals of both national tourists and foreign tourists,” said Soy Sinol, director of the Tourism Department in Kampot province.

Regarding welcoming foreign tourists during Khmer New Year, Prime Minister Hun Manet had asked the Ministry of Tourism to prepare performances of the Chhay Yam Traditional Dance to greet foreign tourists at airports upon their arrival during the Khmer New Year celebration.

Cambodia, renowned for its world cultural heritage sites, namely the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province, the Preah Vihear Temple and Koh Ker Temple in Preah Vihear province, and the Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site in Kampong Thom province, continued to attract visitors from around the world, further enriching the nation’s tourism landscape.

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.

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