Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA) will delay the launch of its planned direct flights to Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore due to unrest in neighbouring countries, the airline said yesterday.
Originally slated to open the new routes before the end of the year, tensions in Thailand and Vietnam have resulted in lower crossborder visitor numbers to Cambodia, meaning the planned flights would be reviewed again next year said Tekret Samrach, Chairman of CAA.
“We need to strictly study the market demand. And now it is not right [to launch the flights] as our neighbours still have a problem, so it affects our tourism industry,” he said.
“Normally, on the package tour, tourists don’t want to only visit us for the majority of their trip, they want to spend a few days here and then they want to move on to Vietnam or Thailand. But now they don’t want to waste their money, as the situation in the two [Vietnam and Thailand] has not gotten better.”
Tourist numbers have slowed since the Thai military took power on May 22 following more than six months of unrest leveled at ousted Premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration. While in Vietnam anti-China demonstrations flared last month when a Chinese oil rig was deployed in waters also claimed by Hanoi.
Kong Sophearak, director of statistics for the Tourism Ministry told the Post that the ministry is working with tourism industry representatives to encourage promotional tours and stem the flow of vistor losses.
“Our private sector is also discounting tour packages and rearranging the packages from which they normally do with Vietnam and Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore,” he said.
Sophearak added that Cambodia received 1.6 million tourists over the first four months year, and though it was a slight increase compared to last year the growth rate had slowed.