Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Cambodia’s airports ready for tourists, air bridges, travel bubbles by ‘end of 2021’

An arrivals board at Phnom Penh international airport. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia’s tourism industry is anticipating the return of travellers by the end of this year with a focus on traditional regional markets, particularly those from China, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore, according to Alain Brun, the chief executive officer of Cambodia Airports.

Government meetings with the tourism industry indicate stakeholders are eying an earnest re-opening by the fourth quarter, according to Brun.

The government has set an ambitious goal to vaccinate 10 million by January and already more than 32 percent of its target group has been inoculated, making it among the most highly immunised populations in the Asia-Pacific region. Tourism accounts for some 32.7 percent of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product.

“Some recovery could take place by this year-end [but] even [then], we would still be far from pre-Covid levels of traffic at airports. For this to happen, we must maintain momentum in vaccine jabs to ease cross border travels and quarantine measures for fully vaccinated visitors,” Brun told Khmer Times.

France’s VINCI Airports owns 70 percent of Cambodia Airports and Muhibbah Masteron Cambodia owns the remainder. The firm operates three international airports: in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

During the initial stages, the Kingdom will eye bilateral agreements with traditional partners, such as China and Thailand. The government is closely studying the possibility of travel bubbles and green air corridors with countries that have put in place stringent measures to fight Covid-19, according to Brun.

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