Cambodia Airports estimates the number of passengers entering via Cambodia’s two international airports will increase by an average 8.8 per cent in 2013.
That prediction is 1.2 per cent lower than the 2012 projection of a 10 per cent increase.
The lower forecast is due to the uncertainty of the global situation, especially the US and European countries, as well as the slowdown of the economy in China.
Cambodia Airports chief executive Emmanuel Menanteau expects the number of passengers will increase by seven per cent for Phnom Penh’s airport, to around 2.25 and 2.55 million arrivals for Siem Reap, a rise of 10.5 per cent, he said during a press conference launching Cambodia Airports’ new winter schedule.
“Cambodia is expected to maintain its economic and tourism growth momentum, key drivers to the rise of air traffic. The trend should be carried out all along the year 2013,” Menanteau said.
“However, the uncertainty of the global economy may impact on the overall demand of air transport, with spill-over effects on traffic in Cambodia,” he said.
Ho Vanndy, co-chair of the Tourism Private Sector Working Group, agreed that passenger numbers from the US and Europe are low, but said they are still potential customers for Cambodia’s tourism sector.
“We noticed that some airlines from Europe that used to operate charter flights suspended their operations between 2011 and 2012. We’re not sure whether or not the projections are accurate,” he said.
“However, if their economy is improving, we’ll have more tourists from them due to Condor Air beginning a direct flight from Frankfurt to Siem Reap once a week,” he said.
Menanteau said that a local carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air, will operate new flights between Siem Reap and Bangkok, with seven flights a week, and weekly flights from both Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville via Siem Reap.
Tourist arrivals by air rose 16 per cent over the first eight months of the year to 1.11 million tourists, of which those via Phnom Penh rose nine per cent. Figures for Siem Reap increased 22 per cent, according to the data from the Ministry of Tourism.
It shows visitor numbers from ASEAN countries rose 38.6 per cent and account for 42 per cent of arrivals. Those from Europe increased 11.7 per cent for a 17 per cent share, while figures for the US rose 12.7 per cent, contributing 4.9 per cent of arrivals, and China’s went up 31 per cent.
The Ministry of Tourism expects Cambodia to receive three million tourists this year, about five million by 2015 and seven million by 2020.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]