Kep province is set to host the 10th Sea Festival during the third week of December 2023. The annual festival (except during Covid-19) alternates between Cambodia’s four coastal provinces, Kep, Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong.

Kep Provincial Department of Tourism director Som Chenda told The Post on August 15 that the festival would attract many national and international visitors to Kep and bring positive growth to the local economy.

“Sea Festival is not only to boost and promote tourism in Kep, but also helps increase the income directly to the local people,” he said.

Although there are only 1,600 hotel and guesthouse rooms in Kep, which is insufficient to accommodate visitors to the event, he opined that Cambodia has a better road network connecting the capital and the province these days, therefore accommodation would not be an issue for guests.

“At the same time, the provincial authorities also plan to provide campsites for accommodation,” Chenda added.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said the festival would help promote Kep as a tourist site and Cambodia as a whole, and grow Kep’s economy.

“We really want to have more such events because apart from domestic tourism growth, we can also attract more foreign visitors to Cambodia,” he said.

That being said, Sinan mentioned that during big events, some activities widely advertise alcohol and energy drinks, which have negative effects on people.

Meanwhile, the recently-launched Kep Tourism Development Master Plan 2023-2035 is designed to turn Kep into a luxurious eco-tourism destination with a competitive edge against others beyond Cambodia.

During the launch, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said the master plan was developed based on the potential and diversity of natural resources, culture and history of the province. The road map adheres to the principles of sustainable development, safety, quality, competitiveness and smart tourism.

The master plan features a number of initiatives to develop Kep into a world-class tourism destination. They are developing new tourism products and attractions, including a golf course, marina and a casino; improving the quality of existing tourism infrastructure, like, hotels, restaurants and beaches; promoting Kep as a destination for luxury tourism, MICE events and weddings; and developing Kep as a sustainable tourism destination, with a focus on environmental protection.

The master plan is expected to help Kep become a major tourism destination in Cambodia and the region. It will also help to create jobs and boost the economy of the province.