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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sihanoukville is top choice for Russia flight plan

People walk across the tarmac to their plane at the Sihanoukville International Airport in 2014.
People walk across the tarmac to their plane at the Sihanoukville International Airport in 2014. Maximovich Nikolay

Sihanoukville is top choice for Russia flight plan

Regularly scheduled direct flights between Cambodia and Russia proposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen last week in Moscow might land in the coastal town of Sihanoukville, an official said yesterday.

Cambodia has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for direct flights in 2015, and last week’s talks were hoped to speed up implementation, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said.

“In the meeting [last week], the Russian prime minister pushed for a direct flight from Russia to Sihanoukville,” he said, adding that Dmitry Medvedev expressed that a seaside destination would be the most popular option.

Khon added that participants of the meeting also worked on finalising a travel visa sub-decree that would allow Russians to enter for one to three years.

While the visit lacked concrete results, Khon hopes the deals will be finalised soon, especially as Russia tourist arrivals fell by 17.6 per cent during the first quarter of this year.

The numbers fell from 24,000 to 19,842 compared to the same time last year. However, Russians are still ranked as Sihanoukville’s second highest visitor, following the Chinese.

Ngoun Meng Tech, director of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said that the primary mission of the visit was to establish trust and confidence in order to spark an inflow of Russian investment.

“We signed a MoU with the Russian Chamber of Commerce and I believe that further business projects will come from Russia,” he said.

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