Cambodians Leave for Water Festival

The number of Cambodians leaving the country for the upcoming Water Festival has increased this year due to rising levels of disposable income and operators providing package tours.
Chan Diyan, sales manager at Top Asia Travel and Tour Company said yesterday that number of tour packages booked by Cambodians to foreign countries over the weekend and into next week had increased by 30 percent over last year.
“Cambodians who can afford our tour package fees are increasingly interested in travelling abroad during long holidays like Khmer New Year, Pchum Ben, and the Water Festival,” Mr. Diyan said.
While some two million Cambodians are expected to descend on Phnom Penh to enjoy the boat races, fireworks and festivities planned between Sunday and Wednesday, Sang Bunthy, general manager of Srey Rath International Travel and Tours, said that many of his clients were also looking to travel elsewhere in Cambodia.
“Those that choose to stay in the country like to join the water festivals in Battambang City and Siem Riep City,” he said.
Ho Vandy, secretary general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance lauded the increase in flight connections and falling airline ticket prices for the changing travel trends.
“I think that people who can afford to travel abroad will go. For those people who cannot, they will stay in the country and visit some of our other attractive tourism sites,” he said.
More than two million people are expected to be in Phnom Penh during the Water Festival, according to figures from the National Police.
Around 10,000 government officials – the vast majority of whom will be soldiers or police officers – will be deployed during Water Festival celebrations to provide security, according to Touch Naroth, the deputy National Police chief.
There were 937,588 outbound Cambodian outbound tourists in the first eight months of 2016, up 23.7 percent compared with 2015, according to the Ministry of Tourism.