Charter flights through Cambodia’s two international airports contributed to a 20 per cent year on year jump in passenger flow during the first half of 2012, according to the minister of tourism.
About 1.03 million passengers arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport and and Siem Reap Airport during the period, up from 858,759 in the first six months of 2011, ministry statistics showed.
Siem Reap saw a 24.7 per cent increase, while Phnom Penh numbers were at about 14 per cent.
“We had a remarkable increase in charter flights, which now number at about five to seven a day – many from China and Korea,” Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said, adding that about 50 per cent of inbound tourist to the country arrived on planes.
This year has also seen an increase in tourists from regions and countries that seldom visited Cambodia in the past, a trend that president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents Ang Kim Eang said was connected to an “open air” policy.
The policy stipulates looser regulation on airlines looking to enter the country.
“Since the policy was issued, I noticed we’ve had tourists from every corner of the globe, from places we never had before like Sri Lanka and Latin America,” he said, adding that Cambodia’s role as ASEAN chairman this year also contributed to the growth.
“This also shows that our country has not only become more attractive to tourists in the region, but in Europe during a time of economic crisis.”
Thong Khon said bringing in regional tourist was still the priority.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at firstname.lastname@example.org