The True Impact of COVID-19: In a City that Survives on Tourism
* The following is an independent effort to document and share real life stories of people living in and around Siem Reap, Cambodia,
during the harsh reality being experienced in a once thriving city - now brutally affected by the global COVID-19 scenario.
THE 2020 SCENARIO
Reality in Siem Reap
About the PRO'DZEKT: Cambodia (Siem Reap) Series
This independent video series is a simple collection of the voices, stories and experiences that I hear, witness and document while living in a city where a complete lack of selfie-snapping tourists was unimaginable a mere few months ago. Streets that were once bustling with masses of people from around the globe are now practically deserted, with many shops and restaurants closed leaving most people unemployed. From tuktuk drivers, artists, vendors, business owners, to farmers and their families - few have been spared from the devastating impact of this brutal global scenario. My goal is simple - to share the voices of a community I’ve grown to respect, admire and love - in a country where many have suffered unimaginable horror during decades of conflict and war, who have again been left to fend for themselves and their families as they face a very uncertain future.
PRO’DZEKT: NO FANCY GEAR OR PRODUCTION, JUST GREAT PEOPLE AND THEIR STORIES.
A Brief Overview
Since the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic that triggered strict travel restrictions and lockdowns around the world, tourism has come to a grinding halt in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This quaint and once bustling city has, in recent years, attracted millions of visitors from around globe - most seeking a glimpse of the region's world-famous Angkor Wat archeological temple complex - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As a city that caters largely to tourists, most of the local population and businesses rely heavily on the money and income generated through the tourism industry. With that gone, many people here are now struggling profoundly.
Siem reap & SURROUNDING AREAS POST-OUTBREAK
About three years ago, I made what I believed would be my final pit stop in a well-known city in Cambodia before continuing my life’s lifelong border-crossing, global and often unpredictable journey.
But Siem Reap, the city best-known for its neighbouring Angkor Wat archeological complex - and its people, captured my curiosity, imagination, heart and soul. While I am ashamed for not having learned much of the local language - truth be told, I failed because I never imagined that I would be based here for this long.
Siem Reap has been home to me since 2017. Providing me with warmth, kind neighbours, Khmer and expat friends, fascinating stories, lessons that once again made me question humanity, a roof over my head, and my hermit-like freedom to live simply, think and watch life unfold.
I dedicate the following, my independent/solo and unfunded work, to all the wonderful people of Siem Reap - those who have helped forge countless memorable memories for the millions of selfie-snapping tourists and visitors who have passed through this town. Not to lessen your struggles, but those of of you with food on table I ask you to please to learn and consider your hosts before you bitch about your developed urban lives.