Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cata: Reopen tourism quickly to put Cambodia on the map

Cata: Reopen tourism quickly to put Cambodia on the map

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
It is entirely feasible to reopen tourism for fully-vaccinated travellers before mid-January, or possibly even October-November, says Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (Cata) president Chhay Sivlin. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Cata: Reopen tourism quickly to put Cambodia on the map

The speed of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign will provide significant opportunities for Cambodia to welcome back fully-vaccinated international visitors, as the Kingdom gears up to host the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) on January 16-22, Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (Cata) president Chhay Sivlin affirmed.

The government has been rapidly accelerating coronavirus vaccination drives nationwide, she told The Post, noting that Cambodia now ranks second in ASEAN – after Singapore – for the number of vaccinations provided for every 100 people.

She maintained that it was entirely feasible to reopen tourism before the ATF kicks off early next year, or possibly even as early as October-November.

“So why don’t we reopen before this event to see lively activity in the lead-up to this event, for [holidaymakers from other] countries to visit Cambodia?”

She argued that the ministries conditions already lean on the cautious side and are well-managed to ensure safety – only fully-vaccinated tourists are accepted and only through tour packages from travel agencies.

“We, the private sector, are also highly committed to help guide tourists as much as possible until they leave Cambodia, so we think there will be no problems arising from the destinations set by the agency – safety first.

“We believe that the reopening of receiving tourist will help restore tourism as soon as possible, we can no longer procrastinate. All businesses have been idling around for almost two years, making it very cumbersome for them to recover,” Sivlin said.

She proposed Cambodia be quick to announce a tourism reopening, to give European tourists time to plan their trips, saying she believes Cambodia would be among the destination for a sizeable portion.

“This presents an opportunity for Cambodia to become a major tourist destination, without relying on neighbouring countries, especially Thailand,” she said.

“Historically, Cambodia has just been a tacked-on tourist destination.”

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on September 1 that his ministry “has been working hard on this arrangement, which may materialise by the end of this year, maybe November-December.

“But the exact timeframe for once again opening up to receive tourists in any capacity cannot be confirmed in detail, please hang on a little longer.”

Sivlin added that a continued delay in the reopening would only extend the time Cambodia needs to prepare for the international tourists.

She underscored that tour operators and tourism-guided businesses require ample time to recruit and train staff after the Covid-19 crisis put a significant share of the workforce out of a job and out of practice.

With many other countries making inroads towards reopening tourism, the Kingdom cannot afford to wait any longer, Sivlin reiterated.

“If we do not seize this opportunity, we will not have another.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At