The Ministry of Tourism will 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 tourism 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.
Tourism minister Thong Khon made the remark at a meeting on April 27.
He said that once the tourism and health ministries had outlined the conditions for the plan, the tourism ministry would petition the Royal Government to implement it.
"The Ministry of Tourism will also work with provincial authorities and the Ad-hoc Commission for Covid-19 Vaccination to seek support in promoting vaccination to the people and tourism service providers at various destinations to ensure that our destinations are safe and be confident that we can accept tourists who have been fully vaccinated," he said.
Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said that to ensure the trust of all stakeholders, certain conditions must be clearly defined to ensure that there is no spread of Covid-19 among tourists and stakeholders.
He said guidance or regulations should include conditions concerning vaccines, reduced quarantine times and obligations for guests and stakeholders.
"In order to make this a success and gain the trust of all stakeholders, it is required that the Ministry of Tourism work with the Ministry of Health to establish a Code of Conduct for tourists," he said.
According to Khon, the tourism ministry will require all tourism destinations to consider the quality of their services and what constitutes reasonable prices, especially in the context of Covid-19 standards such as the government's stringent “three protections and three don'ts” guidelines.
At the same time, he said, it is necessary to instil greater confidence in tourists by requiring staff to wear ID cards and Covid-19 vaccination cards regularly during the performance of their duties.
"We will review the quality of tourism services at all destinations and we will quickly lay out the tourism standards in the context of Covid-19 to ensure the safety and quality of each destination for international tourists.
“We are doing this gradually and we are striving all together with the belief that we'll be able to receive international tourists, especially fully vaccinated ones, in the fourth quarter of 2021," Khon said.
A tourism ministry report revealed that 1.31 million international tourists visited Cambodia in 2020, down 80.2 per cent from 6.61 million in 2019, while Cambodian travellers made about nine million trips to domestic destinations, a year-on-year decrease of 20 per cent.
Last year's decline in international tourist arrivals cost the Cambodian tourism industry more than $3 billion lost in revenue, with revenues from international tourism generating only $1.023 billion in 2020, down 79.2 per cent compared to $4.919 billion in 2019.