Regional Countries To Compete at Water Festival

In an effort to use water sports to im­prove diplomatic relations, the up­­coming Water Festival will in­­clude for the first time a special boat race be­tween teams from the six Great­er Mekong Subregion countries, Cambodian officials said Monday.

The teams from Cambodia, Thai­­­­­­land, Vietnam, Laos, China and Burma will compete in a dif­fer­ent category than most of the other rowers, using six new boats de­­sign­ed to board only 28 people—significantly smaller than traditional Cam­bodian boats, said Chea Kean, the de­puty secretary-general of the Per­manent Or­gan­izing Com­­­­mis­sion for National and In­ter­n­ational Cere­monies.

“The participation will strengthen our friendship and will allow tour­ists to understand our culture,” Chea Kean said.

Tourism Ministry Secretary of State Thong Khon said the race would also improve economic co­operation between the nations.

The ministry has prepared a 30 second TV spot for the festival that will run on CNN before the holiday, Thong Khon said, adding that the ad is part of a series of CNN spots—at a cost of $60,000 for the year—promoting Cambodia as the new­est tourist destination in Asia.

“We want to attract tourists not to visit only Angkor Wat but also the local cultural event,” Thong Khon said.

Mann Chhoeun, Phnom Penh de­p­uty municipal governor, said he estimated there would be around 1.2 million people at this year’s festival.

The Water Festival will take place from Nov 15 to Nov 17.


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