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New airport study set for 2019

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Mondulkiri province’s Sen Monorom town with an unused runway in view. A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the northeastern province will be launched later this year. Photo supplied

New airport study set for 2019

A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday.

The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Tourism.

Chuk Chumno, Department of Tourism Product Development director under the Ministry of Tourism, said the study on the airport’s construction in Mondulkiri province will take six months.

The project aims to promote the tourism sector in the northeastern province, which has potential as an ecotourism hotspot and is one of Cambodia’s larger tourism destinations lacking an airport.

“Mondulkiri province has tourism potential, but it is currently not connected by air,” he said. “If we have an airport, it will provide more options for tourists and will save time, as well as provide easier access to neighbouring countries.”

Chumno said the government will collect all relevant information to support the master plan.

“Looking into the [Kingdom’s] airport market, national tourism destinations have their airports. Accordingly,

Mondulkiri province is a tourism destination and should have an airport, which presents huge potential.”

After the feasibility study is concluded at the end of this year, opportunities will be generated for investment in the project, Chumno added.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin welcomed the study.

However, she said the Ministry of Tourism should focus on other tourism facilities in the meantime to boost the tourism sector.

“The government should focus on … shortages of hotels, restaurants and lack of entertainment infrastructure while they are studying the airport plan. If we acquire an airport while tourism facilities continue to be lacking, then it will be useless to have the airport,” she said.

Currently, the Kingdom has three airports located in Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk provinces, as well as Phnom Penh.

According to a Ministry of Tourism report, Cambodia received 6.2 million foreign visitors last year – a 10.7 per cent increase from 2017 – generating $4.3 billion, an increase of 20 per cent. Domestic tourists reached 11 million last year – an increase of 1.8 per cent from 2017 – and outbound tourism reached two million, an increase of 14 per cent.

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