The Kingdom has decided to hold an annual “Angkor Thanksgiving” event starting in 2022 to commemorate the achievements of Cambodian ancestors and past kings who built temples that have stood for centuries and inspired and awed all of the country’s future generations thereafter.

This year, the Angkor Thanksgiving event lasts for three days from December 14-16 and will be held every year going forward according to the current plans. It features religious ceremonies and artistic performances including a shadow puppet theatre show.

The event will be used to attract domestic and international tourists to Angkor Wat, officials said.

Speaking at a ceremony in front of the Angkor Wat temple on December 14, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona said the Angkor thanksgiving event would begin on that date annually in recognition of the inclusion of Angkor Wat on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which took place on December 14, 1992.

The event will be promoted with the slogan “Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonders” and endeavour to show national pride in the nation’s ancient cultural heritage and rich history.

“The annual Angkor thanksgiving beginning in 2022 aims to contribute to Siem Reap’s ‘Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-2035’ and play a role in reviving Cambodia’s tourism sector.

“The event is to attract domestic and international tourists to encourage them to visit Angkor Wat at least once a year and after visiting once they will want to visit again,” she said.

Sackona hoped that the event will also encourage more sponsorship and support from the private sector to fund programmes of benefit to the preservation and promotion of Cambodia’s national heritage.

She pointed out that Angkor Wat is a symbol of friendship and national and international solidarity because of the extensive help other nations have provided for its conservation since 1993 and the dedicated work of so many Cambodians to this mission.

“The ceremony will also show gratitude for the peace our nation enjoys today through the efforts of the government which has always considered the preservation of national heritage to be a priority and consistently sends a message to the public to participate in the protection of national heritage for our common good,” she said.

Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection Men Sam An said she was proud and honoured to join the event.

“Since becoming a heritage site, the Angkor Archaeological Park has been recognised as not only an example of the great cultural wealth of Cambodia, it is now also recognised worldwide as part of the cultural wealth of all of humanity,” she said.

She added that Angkor Wat is a masterpiece that stands as a testimony to the incredible creative talents of Cambodians who created a civilisation with monuments that have endured for centuries as paragons of achievement in the story of humanity.

Sam An also encouraged the public to assist the government in protecting Angkor, preserving Khmer culture and promoting national heritage to avoid its destruction by people or the natural elements.