Cambodia organised its ninth annual Sea Festival here after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, attracting tens of thousands of revelers.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Saturday said the kingdom is expected to receive around 2 million international tourists in 2022, and the number of foreign tourists will return to the pre-Covid-19 level of 7 million in 2026 or 2027, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The royal government of Cambodia has considered tourism as a priority sector, and as the ‘green gold’, contributing to the national socio-economic development,” he added.

He said that tourism has effectively contributed to cultural preservation and protection of the environment and natural resources, and will help the kingdom achieve its development goals of becoming “an upper-middle income country by 2030″ and “a high-income country by 2050″.

Organised in different coastal provinces every year, the Sea festival was aimed at promoting the country’s coastal areas to tourists and encouraging the protection of maritime resources, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said.

The two-day festival features live concerts, artistic performances, food and beverage show, trade fair, fireworks and sports, he added.

Cambodia’s coastline, registered as a member of the most beautiful bays in the World-Bays Club in 2011, stretches 450 km over four southwestern provinces of Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot and Koh Kong.

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