The government’s plan to introduce an “e-Arrival Card” system for travellers from January 1 is a commendable step in simplifing the process for individuals arriving in Cambodia, according to representatives of the tourism industry. 

The Ministry of Interior recently announced that the initiative will enable foreign visitors and Cambodian nationals to more easily and conveniently complete their immigration and health forms at all international airports in the country.

“Within the trial period from January 1 to June 30, 2024, passengers will have another option: to file the immigration, customs and health information [digitally],” the ministry stated.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia Chapter, stated on December 17 that the app could revolutionise the entry process for tourists, presenting a significant opportunity to attract a higher number of visitors.

He explained that several key factors must be considered when evaluating the app’s potential impact on the industry. He said the success of promotional efforts in raising awareness about the app, its advantages and the streamlined entry process will significantly influence its adoption by travellers.

Sinan believes the user experience, encompassing aspects such as its interface, ease of use and reliability, will crucially shape tourists’ perceptions and play a decisive role in their acceptance of the technology.

“By providing a seamless and expedited entry procedure, the app could substantially enhance the country’s overall appeal as a tourist destination. The convenience and efficiency offered by the app may serve as a key differentiator for Cambodia in the competitive global tourism market, setting it apart as a more visitor-friendly and accessible location,” he stated.

“Ensuring the app’s accessibility to a wide range of travellers, including those from diverse geographic regions and varying technological backgrounds, will be essential in maximising its impact on tourism. By addressing these factors, Cambodia can position itself as a forward-thinking and technologically advanced destination, potentially attracting a more significant influx of visitors and bolstering its tourism industry. 

“Ultimately, the successful implementation and reception of the e-arrival card app will be pivotal in shaping Cambodia’s tourism landscape for years to come,” he added.

Sar Sarin, business director of PTM Travel & Tours Co Ltd, noted that the initiative will facilitate Cambodia-bound tourists due to its ease of use. 

“It’s a positive step forward as we transition to introducing the digital platform, making things easier and more convenient for tourists. This change means they won’t have to spend as much time filling out paper forms,” he stated. 

Minister of Tourism Sok Soken, speaking at a recent event, emphasised his ministry’s efforts to increase foreign visitor arrivals and extend their stays. 

He highlighted the importance of offering unique experiences in heritage and culture. 

“We aspire for guests to immerse themselves in unique experiences relating to our heritage and culture, as well as other Cambodian products. Our goal is to establish Cambodia as a premier global tourism destination,” he stated.

The minister cautioned against complacency, emphasising the crucial role of the private sector and other relevant stakeholders. He pointed out that without their active involvement, the quality of travel experiences might decline. 

Highlighting past challenges, he underscored the necessity for thorough engagement with all stakeholders to guarantee that visitors depart with enduring, favourable impressions.

The ministry reported that the Kingdom recorded 4.4 million international tourists in the first 10 months of 2023, a rise of around 180 per cent from 1.57 million over the same period last year.