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Middle Eastern carrier to fly to Cambodia

Qatar Airways is set to become the first Middle Eastern carrier in Cambodia when scheduled daily flights from Doha International to Phnom Penh International Airport start on Wednesday.

Officials said yesterday the flights would boost tourism and investment from the Middle East into the Kingdom.

The addition of Phnom Penh marks Qatar Airways’s continued growth in Asia, which now represents about 30 per cent of the carrier’s 119-strong network of global cities.

Phnom Penh will also be Qatar Airways’ 11th gateway to the ASEAN region, following launches in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Hanoi, Singapore, Manila, Phuket and Yangon, according to the statement.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said daily flights from the airline’s Doha hub to Phnom Penh will provide increased opportunities for travellers from Europe, the Middle East and North America.

“As we continue our aggressive worldwide expansion program, we are delighted to offer our customers a much awaited connection to one of Asia’s most popular and well-loved destinations,” he said in the statement.

The Qatar Airways’ Doha-Phnom Penh route will be serviced by an Airbus A330 in a two-class configuration of up to 248 seats in economy class and up to 36 in business.

Flights will operate via Ho Chi Minh City, according to the statement.

Thong Khon, minister of tourism, said Qatar is a country that attracts many foreign tourists each year.

“Qatar Airways is an airline of very high quality,” he said.

The Ministry of Tourism’s director of statistics, Kong Sophearak, said that the number of tourists from the Middle East is still low, though the connection would contribute greatly to both tourism and investment.

“We’re really happy to have the flight connection despite their being a low tourism contributor at the moment. But I can expect we will also get a greater increase in trade and investment from them because they are interested in our agricultural sector,” he said.

Last September, the minister of commerce said the Middle East is expected to become the main exporting market for Cambodia’s milled rice in upcoming years.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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