Tourism chiefs in Cambodia have issued a rallying call to see the return of foreign tourists as they wait for confirmation of reopening plans from the government.
Main picture Phnom Penh credit Paul Szewczyk on Unsplash
“Today, the travel industry is ready to welcome tourists and passengers… Today, we are desperate as the pandemic has had a huge impact on activity.”Alain Brun, CEO Cambodia Airports via TTG Asia
Unlike most countries in Southeast Asia, Cambodia has quietly undertaken a very successful Covid-19 vaccination programme and finds itself in the world’s top 20 most vaccinated countries and Phnom Penh is the most vaccinated capital city in the world.
“Thanks to the amazing work of the government, travel in Cambodia is safe and we are ready (for reopening).
The travel industry has been actively working on SOPs for months. We were the first sector to be hit by Covid-19 and we were the first to design and implement health and safety measures.”Alain Brun, CEO Cambodia Airports via TTG Asia
Last week Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, announced that it was imperative that borders reopen to tourists, however he did not put a timeframe on the move.
He also recommended reducing quarantine from 14 to 7 days which received criticism from people in the tourism industry.
Thailand is a prime example of the effects that any type of quarantine have on tourism. In Phuket which had no quarantine there were over 14,000 foreign arrivals in the first month. Meanwhile in Koh Samui, that has heavier restrictions, there were just 431 foreign tourists arriving from its launch on 15th July up until 24th August.
“Quarantine and tourism don’t co-exist. Vaccinated tourists have choice now. They can go and see the Pyramids at Egypt with no quarantine or Costa Rica.”Nick Ray, Consultant for CamDMC.
There are hopes that an early and successful reopening could have a long-term benefit for tourism in the country.
Prior to the pandemic most people visited Cambodia for a few days as an add-on to trips elsewhere in the region. There is a clear opportunity to attract tourists to spend longer in Cambodia, visiting areas outside of the traditional key tourism hot spot in Siem Reap / Angkor Wat.
Source: TTG Asia
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