Planes carrying more than 1,000 Spanish tourists landed in Siem Reap on Saturday, in what tourism officials called a positive signal from Europe during a time of economic instability.
The tour that brought 1,290 tourist in on four chartered planes saw some of the first direct tourism-oriented flights from Madrid, Spain. It also brought some of the largest planes – three Airbus 330s and one Boing 767 – ever to land in Siem Reap.
“It’s the first time big planes land here. I hope it will attract more European tourists,” said Kong Sangvar, managing director of Orchestra Travel & Tours, an agency that helped organise the trip.
Although there are no plans for direct flights, the chartered flights have put tourism potential from Spain on some officials’ radars.
“Permanent flights needs long-term research because it is based on passengers from Spain,” Tith Vanna, Siem Reap International Airport director, said.
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said the trip signifies that Europe was not a dead market for Cambodian tourism.
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