THE Hong Kong-flagged cruise liner Jupiter Cruise, owned by a Vietnamese luxury cruise company, is set to begin service between Sihanoukville and Vietnam's Phu Quoc island, also known as Koh Tral, later this month, a local tourism official told the Post on Monday.
Sihanoukville tourism director Som Chenda said the triple-deck cruise ship will welcome foreigners and locals who prefer to travel by ship between Cambodia and Vietnam.
The service is the first of its kind in Cambodia.
"When the service begins later this month, we hope that it will help boost tourism and bring more international visitors to Cambodia," he said.
Kong Sophearak, director of the Statistics Department at the Ministry of Tourism, said Jupiter Cruise would allow Cambodia to tap the luxury tourism market for sea-based travel with Vietnam.
"We have already had other ships transporting 2,000 to 3,000 tourists per boat travelling to Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam," he said. About eight cruises have arrived in Cambodian ports this year, he added.
Kong Sophearak said some 1.7 million international travellers visited Cambodia between January and October, citing ministry statistics. Most visitors were from Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the United States and China.
Ministry officials expect more than 2.15 million tourists to come to Cambodia by the end of the year, he said.
In a push to boost bilateral tourism, Cambodia and Vietnam signed a visa exemption agreement for residents of each country. The agreement went into effect Thursday, Kong Sophearak said.