Japan will introduce direct flights to and from Cambodia this year in an effort to bolster trade, investment and tourism between the two nations, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Friday. Hun Sen announced the plan at a meeting with a delegation led by Hideo Sawada, the chairman of Japanese-based tourism firm H.I.S. Co Ltd.
“I will be the midwife for this baby,” Hun Sen said, according to state news service AKP. He added that the flights could be operational in the next six months.
The proposal comes after an agreement inked in December between Cambodia and Japan that loosened visa requirements for passport holders from both countries.
Cambodia received 184,833 Japanese tourists in the first 11 months of 2013, compared to 159,745 during the same period of 2012, an increase of 15.7 per cent, according to the tourism ministry.
Japanese foreign direct investment in Cambodia reached about $47.5 million in 2013, compared to $328 million in 2012, a $280 million drop, figures provided by the Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh revealed.
An official at Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) said no memorandum of understanding had been signed regarding the flights, which are likely to be aboard Japan’s national flag carrier, Japan Airlines.
Experts from both countries, however, had commenced work on a feasibility study, the SSCA official added.