PHNOM PENH, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen inaugurated the fourth River Festival in southern Kandal province on Saturday evening with the aim of promoting tourism potential along the Mekong River to tourists.

Speaking to thousands of participants at the ceremony, Hun Sen said the country was lucky to be rich in natural resources and called on the public to protect environment and natural resources along the river for next generations.

"Besides the Angkor Wat Temple (a world heritage site) and many temples left from our ancestors, Cambodia is fortunate to be rich in natural resources such as sea, rivers and lakes, which are conducive to tourism development and provide great benefits to our people," he said in a televised speech on Bayon TV.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also called for the people to join him in defending the country's hard-won peace.

The three-day annual event, held under the theme "River of Peace, Friendship and Sustainable Tourism," kicked off on Friday with the official opening ceremony being held on Saturday evening.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said tourists could enjoy art performances, product and food exhibitions, water sports activities, parade of illuminated floats, and fireworks at the event.

Tourism is one of the four pillars supporting the country's economy. The Southeast Asian nation attracted 5.6 million foreign visitors in 2017, up nearly 12 percent from a year earlier, he said, adding that the country is expected to receive up to 7 million foreign tourists in 2020.

Source: NAM News Network