Siem Reap is to welcome back Songkran celebrations on the first day of Khmer New Year, following two years of pandemic-driven postponements, according to provincial governor Tea Seiha.
Seiha said on January 18 that the decision to resume the Songkran came after Cambodia had reopened in all socio-economic sectors, and extensive testing had been carried out to see if the country would see widespread community cases of Covid 19. He said the testing proved that no major outbreak had recurred, as demonstrated by the success of New Year’s Eve celebrations.
He said the event is being organised to attract local and international visitors back to the province and many celebrations are planned, including cultural and sporting events, music concerts and a fashion show.
“We will have cultural events like we did in previous years, but we will organise them so that social distancing can be practised. Some of these events were prepared for up to two years ago, but were interrupted by the pandemic,” he said.
The governor expected that many people will flock to the province as it had been significantly upgraded, both in Siem Reap town and the surrounding countryside, as well as at the temples, he said.
“Hotels and guesthouse have resumed operation, so we have the ability to welcome many tourists. This is a the perfect opportunity for Siem Reap to resume the Songkran,” he said.
Luot Bun Chhuob, a tour guide based in Siem Reap, said that he was happy to hear that the Songkran would return this year. However, he said he was still concerned about Omicron.
“As one who has been jobless for many months, I am happy to hear the authorities focus on the tourism sector, but I am still concerned about the Omicron; I am afraid that it may lead to another lockdown. I hope that because we have received the third dose, it will not lead to that,” he said.
Govern Seiha said to prevent any potential risks, the authorities were encouraging all eligible people to keep their vaccinations up to date, and insisting on widespread preventative measures, such as the three dos and three don’ts.