More than 3.2 million passengers passed through Cambodia’s three international airports during the first half of 2015, a 14.4 per cent increase on the same period last, as leisure travellers continue to dominate arrivals in the Kingdom, according to Cambodia Airports figures.
From January to June, Phnom Penh International Airport reported around 1.5 million passengers, up 16.4 per cent, according to state media outlet AKP. Meanwhile, Siem Reap International Airport saw 1.7 million passengers over the same period, an increase of 11.2 per cent from last year.
Many of the passengers travelled to Cambodia for leisure, according to Khek Norinda, director of communications and public relations at Cambodia Airports.
“Therefore, our activities are closely connected with Cambodia’s tourism growth and in particular with all initiatives aiming at promoting the destination,” Norinda said yesterday.
Preah Sihanouk International Airport, the smallest of the three, saw 43,945 passengers during the first half of this year, a 128 per cent increase from the 19,218 passengers last year.
Norinda added that tourists are becoming more aware of Cambodia’s coastal regions, leading to an increase in beach tourism.
“The number is still modest though and stakeholders of the tourism industry have to maintain their efforts on promoting Cambodia as a beach destination as well,” he said.
Ho Vandy, managing director of World Express Tours and Travel, said promoting the Kingdom as a beachgoers’ destination would depend on better enforcement of anti-pollution laws.
“We have been talking about this for over 10 years, [but] big pollution still happens,” he said.
“The domestic and local people need to know that this is a bad habit, throwing trash everywhere they want.”
Cambodia Airports is currently extending terminals at its Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports.
The expansion, part of a $100 million project which started last year, will double each airport’s passenger capacity to 5 million passengers each year and is expected to be completed by early 2016.