A new air route may connect Macau and Cambodia this year, a move industry experts say would reduce travel costs in the region and reflects tourist interests in both destinations’ gambling industries.
Several airlines are in contact with CAM, Macau International Airport Co, “seeking to launch [a] route to Cambodia later this year,” a press release on Macau International Airport’s website said on May 4.
The details of the potential development, however, are still under negotiation.
“We will strive to achieve direct flight and charter flight of the route,” said a representative from CAM, who did not want to be named as negotiations are still ongoing.
“All about the flights between Macau and Cambodia are under planning and negotiation, of commercial confidentiality,” they said.
Norinda Khek, communications and public relations director at Phnom Penh International Airport, said efforts were being made with Macau International Airport to identify airlines that could operate between Macau and Cambodia.
“This is a marketing approach for route development and to increase traffic between our two countries. We are at a very early stage and discussions are going on,” he said.
Private sector representatives said they welcomed the potential plans.
“Macau is one of the prime destinations for Cambodians,” said Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents. But he said Cambodians travelling to Macau currently via other cities, such as Hong Kong and Guangzhou. “So it’s not convenient, and it is expensive.”
Lav Heng, general manager of VLK Royal Tourism Co Ltd, said the prospect of direct flights to Macau was “a hundred per cent good”.
Businesspeople would be able to connect to Hong Kong or Guangzhou via Macau, he said. From Cambodia, flights to both Hong Kong and Guangzhou “are always overbooked, and then the price is very high,” he said, adding that a Macau route would make the journey more affordable.
He agreed there was an interest from Macau tourists to visit local casinos. “That’s a market you have,” he said.