Holidays on hold

Tourists have clamoured to see the sights of Cambodia and, for years, business has moved to meet demand. But the sudden collapse of the global travel industry has brought an end to the party, with once-bustling towns like Siem Reap now lying dormant.

Siem Reap is in its slow season, a time when the bustling hotels, restaurants, temples and bars of the tourist hub have largely emptied of the tourists that make the lifeblood of Cambodia’s gateway to the Angkorian temples. 

But this season, wedged into the global travel shutdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, is unlike those that have come before. 

For Ta Proum, 35, a tour guide at Angkor Wat, the collapse of global tourism has had a profound effect. He’s worked outside the massive central temple for eight years. Before Covid-19 emptied the skies of international travellers, he could earn anywhere between $30-35 per day; now, a day of work might pull in as little as $1. 

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