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Major travel uptrend likely ‘from mid-2022’

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Tourists visited Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province. A total of 196,495 foreign tourists visited Cambodia last year, down by 85 per cent from a year earlier, ministry figures show. Heng Chivoan

Major travel uptrend likely ‘from mid-2022’

Cambodia will see a marked uptrend in international tourists from mid-2022 as more travel packages are developed and marketed, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Chhun Makara, director of the ministry’s travel agency, transport and tourism guide department, on February 15 said that between November until end-January, the number of weekly flights rose by 20 per cent to about 320.

Although only a small number of international tourists have travelled to the Kingdom since last month, tour packages organised by the ministry are expected to significantly increase from early June.

“From June onwards, we hope tour package sales bring in more visitors, especially from Europe and the US, because according to our survey, a lot of travellers will arrive in June, because now there is a reduction in the mandatory quarantine period for vaccinated arrivals,” he said.

Arrivals will also rise as flows of international tourists in and out of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos gradually climb back to normal, he added.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that the tourism situation would improve from March, as more airlines gear up to resume flights to the Kingdom this month and CATA members receive more bookings for travel packages.

She said private businesses are creating attractive new travel packages that are in line with the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our association is organising study tours in provinces with major tourism potential, and we’ll study what kinds of products and services customers may be interested in and check out new and different tourist destinations to promote to sightseers,” Sivlin said.

All Dream Cambodia Travel Co Ltd executive director Huot Kheang said that his company, which focuses on European tourists, continues to get few bookings, but that he expects an upswing in the near future.

He added that European tourists would only travel to the region in significant numbers if countries here were to ease quarantine requirements and reopen more flights.

“We’ll get some bookings in March, but they’ll likely still be few. What we hope for is that the US and Europe will reopen like we did, and that airlines will resume their flights – as we also look forward to long-haul flights to our neighbouring countries,” he said.

The ministry, in collaboration with local tour operators, launched an affordable domestic tour package in early February 2021 to bolster safe and attractive domestic tourism.

A total of 196,495 foreign tourists visited Cambodia last year, down by 85 per cent from a year earlier, ministry figures show.

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