Post-COVID Revival Offers Hope for Siem Reap Hotels

This photo show Hotel Vellita in Siem Reap

SIEM REAP – In the years since COVID-19 struck, the tourism-dependent province of Siem Reap has faced deep uncertainties. However, new infrastructure such as roads and airport development aim to bolster domestic travel.

Phal Pich Phyrun, Hotel Vellita’s director of sales and marketing, told Cambodianess this can be a good time to meet the demand for accommodation.

Ky Chamna: Although the pandemic has slowed down the economy of the province, the hotel industry in Siem Reap remains competitive. How special is your newly opened hotel compared with others nearby?

Phal Pich Phyrun: Beyond just providing accommodation, we are committed to bringing every guest the best experience and for them to admire Khmer hospitality during their stay. On top of that, our hotel also holds a commitment in caring about a better future and we will always be a part of any sustainability project.

Hotel Vellita Siem Reap. Photo provided.

First of all, we are green and we produce more oxygen. Second, all plastics are recycled or compostable. Third, we support local community products, reduce energy wastage and encourage our guests to use electric vehicles.

Ky Chamna: Do you think opening your hotel now is a challenge or an opportunity to capture the market as soon as possible?

Phal Pich Phyrun: This is definitely challenging for us to open a hotel now but this is also the opportunity to capture the market. Many boutiques and hotels in the city have shut down and have not yet reopened. Siem Reap city has a low supply of number one standard Khmer hospitality for local and international tourists. Due to this, our management decided to open and grab the opportunity as well as to also help the city fulfil the needs of all sectors.

Hotel Vellita Siem Reap. Photo provided.

Ky Chamna: With improved infrastructure such as new roads and new airports, it has been noticed that many more Khmer tourists are eager to travel domestically in recent years. Due to this effect, does your hotel cater more for domestic or international tourists?

Phal Pich Phyrun: We obviously cater more toward domestic than international tourists. When the new infrastructure is ready, local people would like to see how Siem Reap has transformed itself. They will surely say it is completely different from before as more places can be easily accessed.

Hotel Vellita Siem Reap. Photo provided.

Ky Chamna: During the pandemic, many hotels had to lay off employees and the employees found jobs elsewhere. As some hotels are reopening, do you think there is a lack of human resources? If so, how can hotel managers regain it?

Phal Pich Phyrun: This is definitely challenging for us in terms of hiring quality human resources for this new hotel. However, we opened our hotel when they started seeking jobs. We grabbed this chance to hire them. Nevertheless, the staff turnover is still high, which is why we need to partner with hospitality schools or associations like the Siem Reap Tourism Club for them to keep training hospitality students.

Ky Chamna: In Siem Reap, there is a high season and a low season with fewer tourists. Do you have any ideas about how to close the gap? At the same time, the low season coincides with the rainy season when nature revives itself to the full with a greenish and hydrated landscape. Do you think the rainy season should be a season of more travel?

Phal Pich Phyrun: Since this question is really broad, I would like to share my opinion based on my point of view only. It can be right or wrong, yet there is an idea there. I absolutely agree that the rainy season should be a season for more travel. This is because people keep saying that Siem Reap is a green city. So, those green landscapes will be increasingly more gorgeous after a series of rainfalls.

Can you imagine how beautiful it is? I believe it is not only me who would not like to divide the season by low and high but, based on the demand so far, we have no choice. We have improved Siem Reap’s infrastructure. The huge new investment in the international airport is going to be ready in October.

I hope private and government sectors will act together to build the new outlook of Siem Reap city by creating more events, inviting more people to experience this ancient temple city and create a more unique and attractive product to show the world.

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