September 30, 2011

Travel to coast down during Pchum Ben

[PHNOM PENH POST]

Bad weather scared tourists from Cambodian beaches and other popular travel destinations during a three-day national holiday, provincial tourism officials said yesterday.

Preah Sihanouk province saw a 30 to 35 per cent drop in tourist numbers during the Pchum Ben holiday, which ended Wednesday, Seng Kha, deputy director of the province’s Tourism Department, said. He attributed the decrease to heavy rains.

Torrential downpours have deluged Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces for weeks. The floods have killed 97 people and have affected about 90,000 families countrywide, the Post reported yesterday.

“Bad weather, rains and storms have made it difficult for people to take tours this year,” Bin Biev, director of Koh Kong province’s Tourism Department, said yesterday.

About 20 per cent fewer tourists visited Koh Kong province during the holiday, he said. Foreign guests at some hotels increased, however. Hang Dara, owner of Koh Kong Resort Hotel, told the Post that international tourist numbers grew during the spell of poor weather. Local tourist declined.

Floods are not the only factor keeping travellers at home, Ang Kim Eang, president of Cambodian Associations of Travel Agents, said yesterday.  Although floods may be the main factor dissuading travel, high food and transportation prices are also deterrents, he said.

“Last year, vendors in Preah Sihanouk province increased food prices which made some guests unhappy,” he said.

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