Cambodia's traditional new year holiday ends with 4.59 mln tourists traveling across kingdom

Three-day traditional New Year celebrations saw a tourist rush after a two-year break over COVID-19. Photo by Ngeav Chankresna

Three-day traditional New Year celebrations saw a tourist rush after a two-year break over COVID-19

PHNOM PENH, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's three-day traditional New Year, or Songkran festival, had come to an end with 4.59 million people traveling to various tourist attractions, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said on Sunday.

Khon said that of the total, there were 28,849 foreign tourists.

"All tourist destinations had been opened and attracted crowds of tourists," he said in a report. "The number of tourists during the three-day New Year holiday this year is almost comparable to the pre-COVID-19 new year celebration in 2019, when 4.72 million tourists were recorded."

Security, safety and public order had been ensured during the holiday, he said, adding that the cultural province of Siem Reap, the capital city Phnom Penh, and the coastal provinces of Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, and Kep were among the kingdom's most popular tourist destinations.

"Confidence in the effectiveness of vaccines has allowed our people to travel to all tourist attractions across the country during the New Year holiday," Khon said.

The Southeast Asian nation celebrated the Songkran festival from Thursday to Saturday after a two-year break of festivities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Saturday that Songkran festivities were organized at villages, pagodas, schools, public venues and tourist attractions across the country.

"Thanks to the high rate of vaccinations and comprehensive peace that we have achieved over the past 24 years, our people can now travel everywhere," he said in a speech during the inauguration ceremony of a large couple statue in the southwestern Preah Sihanouk province.

Cambodia has fully resumed its socio-economic activities and reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers without quarantine since last November after most of its population have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The kingdom has so far administered one dose of COVID-19 vaccines to 14.85 million people, or 92.8 percent of its 16 million population, the Health Ministry said, adding that of them, 14.1 million, or 88.1 percent, have been fully vaccinated with two required shots.

Most of the jabs used in the country's immunization program are Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.

Cambodia reported only 16 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant, with no new fatalities, the Health Ministry said, adding that from January 2020 to date, the country had registered a total of 136,060 cases with 132,769 recoveries and 3,055 deaths.

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