Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Cambodian tour operators look seriously at ‘Phuket Sandbox’ as possible way to restart tourism

Tourists from Frankfurt are greeted by THAI staff at the Phuket international airport on Saturday morning.
Photo:Bangkok Post

As Thai authorities are marketing the “Phuket Sandbox” – a special tour programme for foreign tourists to enjoy their holiday in Phuket without quarantine – local tour operators said it can be a lesson for Cambodia to consider welcoming vaccinated tourists.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin said this is a point of hope that Cambodia can learn and absorb some experience from the Phuket Sandbox.

“We should learn how Thailand can monitor and control the risk of the pandemic in Phuket, so that we can open up our tourism sector step by step the same as Thailand,” she said.

“This is a lesson and it is also a good choice that we should learn about opening an area first, because each country cannot open all destinations at once. We should open an area in any province the same as Phuket. This is a good model for us,” she told Khmer Times on Friday. “We can open in Siem Reap or any area so that we can receive tourists gradually.”

“In this situation, if we wait for the opening for the whole nation, it may not be possible. We have to work little by little,” Sivlin said.

Cambodian Tourist Guide Association president Pok Samnang, based in Siem Reap, also expressed his optimism over tourism’s recovery modeling the Phuket Sandbox. However, he also shared his concern as the Covid-19 pandemic in the Kingdom has seemingly increased in the last few days.

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