Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourism ground rules set out ahead of Pchum Ben festival

Tourism ground rules set out ahead of Pchum Ben festival

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The tourism sector still needs more time for a meaningful recovery, says World Express Co Ltd managing director Ho Vandy.. Heng Chivoan

Tourism ground rules set out ahead of Pchum Ben festival

As the Pchum Ben Festival rapidly approaches, the Ministry of Tourism issued a circular instructing subordinate units to enhance the quality of tourism resources and help to effectively prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as industry players indicate that domestic tourism is slowly beginning to revive.

Cambodian Buddhists will observe Pchum Ben for 15 days from September 22 to October 6, with the main festivities celebrated from October 5-7, ending a day after the main day of “great offering”, or Ben Thom, on October 6 coinciding with the new moon. The holiday is dedicated to their ancestors and is an occasion for families to get together.

The circular, signed by Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on September 10, advised the Phnom Penh and provincial tourism departments to closely monitor progress of the Covid-19 response.

The guideline called for the heightened observance of the ‘three do’s and three don’ts” rules and a recently-introduced set of minimum standard operating procedures (SOP) that are geared towards the “new normal” of the industry.

It urged managers of tourist attractions to register visitors and have them scan in the “Stop Covid” QR code system before they enter the premises, to assist with contact tracing efforts.

The document also called for justifiable limits for carrying capacities and improved management at each site, as well as cooperation with traders and tour operators to ensure adequate quality of tourism products and services, reasonable prices, and a hygienic and eco-friendly environment.

Owners of boats and ferries that do business at these getaways are warned not to overload their vessels, and obliged to carry essential safety equipment and other necessary gear.

After a lull in the aftermath of the February 20 community outbreak of Covid-19, Cambodia’s domestic tourism industry is now slowly recovering.

Ministry figures show that holidaymakers made 51,042 domestic trips across the Kingdom on September 4-5, the first weekend of the month, of which Cambodians accounted for 50,134 and foreign residents 908.

World Express Co Ltd managing director Ho Vandy told The Post that the tourism ministry is working with relevant government agencies and the private sector to adopt new measures and policies to gradually revitalise the sector.

While the aforementioned rules are more tailored to the Pchum Ben holiday, they also constitute a part of a broader package of measures that seek to strengthen safety management and instil confidence in plans to reopen the international tourism sector, he said.

He highlighted that any viable timeframe for reopening would be contingent on the Covid situation in the Kingdom and neighbouring countries.

“Safety considerations for both national and international tourists are essential to the sustainable recovery of the sector,” Vandy said.

Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association president Khieu Thy said the uncertainty over the Covid-19 outbreak gives him no hope that tourism in Siem Reap could resume before the end of the year.

To make matters worse, many roads in the province that would have improved accessibility to tourism sites are still undergoing renovations or expansions, he pointed out.

While the ministry’s latest circular is indeed a welcome step, it comes up rather short for entertainment venues, Thy lamented.

“For me, the tourism sector still needs more time for a meaningful recovery.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision