A three-day discovery tour across northwestern Cambodia's Siem Reap province has been named the world's number one luxury tour by US travel firm Tripadvisor Inc, in the 2021 Travellers' Choice “Best of the Best” Things to Do Awards.
The package includes a tour on the main circuit in Angkor Archaeological Park and beyond to Phnom Kulen National Park and its refreshing waterfalls, the famous floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake and the endearing Banteay Srei temple – or “citadel of the women”, according to the Tripadvisor website.
Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan told The Post on June 27 that with its well-known and trusted brand, Tripadvisor's recognition of the Siem Reap excursion as “luxury tour” would provide a boost for the Kingdom's ailing tourism industry.
He noted that the Cambodian tourism sector remains in deep slumber as the world grapples with the ebbs and flows of the Covid-19 tides, but this latest accolade will serve to accentuate the tourism potential that exists in the Kingdom.
"Although guests cannot travel to Cambodia, I believe the Kingdom will benefit a lot through Tripadvisor, especially in the fourth quarter of this year – the Ministry of Tourism is working closely with the relevant ministries to achieve the plan of opening the doors and receiving international tourists again,” he said.
He likened Tripadvisor analytics to a major international benchmark for the modern-age tourism industry.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy pointed out the Kingdom's repute among international tourists as a place of natural beauty, culture and history.
Tripadvisor ratings will significantly speed up recovery of the sector and redress the sharp decline witnessed over the past year due to the global Covid-19 crisis, he said.
The global travel industry has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with airlines in the darkest moments of the health crisis cutting flights and laying off staff in a desperate bid to conserve cash and keep global supply chains operating.
And international tourism to Cambodia remains a shadow of what it once was. The Kingdom welcomed just 82,839 international tourists in the first four months of this year, plummeting by 93 per cent on a yearly basis from 1,160,067.
Still, Vandy said: “Tripadvisor is a valuable source of information trusted by a lot of tourists around the world, and this honour is a boon for Cambodia that will provide a plethora of benefits for the tourism sector, especially after the Covid-19 situation improves.”
In April, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said his ministry would work with the Ministry of Health to evaluate the feasibility of international tourists from low-risk countries and territories who have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus to enter the Kingdom with little or no quarantine stay.
The ministry expects this to begin in the fourth quarter, in a move that would rescue the industry, which has been severely affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 for over a year, he said.
Last week, Singapore-based private aviation company Yugo Global Industries Pte Ltd announced plans to launch charter routes in Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.
With its fleet of private jets and helicopters, Yugo will provide flight services connecting Southeast Asia to the entire Asia-Pacific region, the company said in a statement on June 24.