Siem Reap regains its smile while infrastructure being advanced

COVID-19 has reduced the number of both domestic and foreign tourists visiting Cambodia, resulting in the closure of hospitality businesses, a decline in the flow of all forms of travel means, and social distancing. For the past two years, not only has Cambodia been devastated by the pandemic, but every single country in the world has felt the impact, which has exacerbated poverty.

Photo credit @Bron Sambor

The Cambodian tourism industry has taken significant damage. Siem Reap, one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, has been seriously impacted as this province is entirely dependent on tourism. Due to travel restrictions and a drop in income, both domestic and international visitors have pushed back their journey and spent less.

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The Cambodian government has set up various measures and guidelines for managing the pandemic, as well as different approaches for reviving the country’s economy. Adapting to new ways of life is what the government must do in order to reopen the country. During the period when tourist numbers were low, the government invested heavily in infrastructure restoration, particularly in Siem Reap province. 38 roads have been restored with millions of dollars from the national savings budget.

Since the country’s reopening, some Cambodian tourist spots have been packed with locals. Siem Reap, in particular, appears to be quite inviting to all visitors, with a hopeful smile on its face as the renovation of the 38 roads nears completion. Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, located 50 kilometers from town, began construction on March 15, 2020, and is expected to be completed in 2023. As the government plans to accommodate 5 to 10 million tourists by 2030, this will make Siem Reap more accessible for international flights.

According to the government, Siem Reap would be included in an ASEAN Smart City together with Sihanoukville and Battambang. Siem Reap will become a Smart City and the top cultural tourism destination in ASEAN and the globe.

17 Dec, 2021-The inaugural flight of Singapore Airlines (SIA) from Singapore to Siem Reap, SQ164, arrived at 09:45.
Since March 2020, this is the first foreign flight to Siem Reap. Photo Credit @Siem Reap Provincial Hall

Local tourists are flocking to Siem Reap by the end of 2021, which is a good sign and message that Cambodian tourism is waking up. On December 17, a group of multi-national tourists landed in Siem Reap through Singapore Airlines, the first international flight to the city, and more are expected to arrive in the coming months to keep the tourism industry healthy and lively.

The tourism industry is predicted to fully return in 2022, assisting local businesses in running and providing jobs and incomes for economic growth.

To brighten its grin, the Siem Reap administration must deal with a slew of issues, including waste management, public space management, and public hygiene. Littering is a major problem throughout the country, particularly in tourist areas. Travelers with no responsibilities litter as they like, with little regard for environmental harm. Littering should be punished severely by the government. In Siem Reap, public parking places are few. Vehicle owners infringe on public areas by parking their vehicles on the road without regard for traffic congestion.

Temples will be stepped on by millions of people for the first time in nearly two years; empty streets will be filled with people, vehicles, and businesses. Once again, Siem Reap, the center of our cultural province, will be beaming with joy.

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