Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Optimism after eased tourism controls, but sector eager for more

Optimism after eased tourism controls, but sector eager for more

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
From January-July, Cambodia received 112,544 international visitors, marking a steep decline of 90.6 per cent year-on-year, according to the tourism ministry.​ YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Optimism after eased tourism controls, but sector eager for more

The recent cautious relaxations in Cambodia’s visa, travel and quarantine rules have been a welcome breath of fresh air for the beleaguered tourism sector, but may not go far enough to create the positive momentum needed to drive the transformative change desired, industry stakeholders told The Post on October 24.

The Ministry of Health on October 16 issued Notification No 453 on revised health rules, quarantine requirements and other travel conditions. General fully-vaccinated inbound passengers must now undergo quarantine for seven days, whereas investors, technical experts, among others – with a guarantor or invitation letter – are required to isolate for just three days.

And in an October 20 letter addressed to foreign Cambodian missions, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn outlined the resumption of tourist visas and e-visa applications, and the reinstatement of the visa exemption policy, but noted that visas on arrival would remain suspended.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin told The Post on October 24 that the resumption of granting certain types of visas would encourage travellers and investors to book trips to the Kingdom, providing a much-needed stimulus to the tourism sector after the nearly two-year-long crippling Covid ordeal.

She affirmed that the government does not provide visas on arrival, cautioning would-be travellers to Cambodia to apply beforehand at embassies or the e-visa platform.

Sivlin argued that these prior applications indicate travellers’ specific interest in Cambodia and are a form of recognition. “And this is a good sign of the revival of our tourism industry.”

Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said the private sector is “pleased” that the government followed through on long-brewing proposals by the business community to simplify the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for tourists.

But this rule-easing may fall short of desirable results, Sinan suggested, contending that the potentially disproportionate health measures and the three- or seven-day quarantine may be off-putting to tourists.

He believes that one possible option in the near-term would be to allow travellers entering Cambodia through Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk provinces to stay for five days in the corresponding locality, and have them undergo free Covid-19 PCR tests before being permitted travel to other provinces.

However he called on the government to embrace the inevitability of the resumption of economic activity and move toward a wider reopening to travellers and investors so that the tourism industry can achieve further growth.

Still, Sinan concurred that the relaxation of measures does provide a boon for investors with prior engagements in Cambodia.

Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Sochet Kresna welcomed the revisions in the visa, travel and quarantine rules, saying the changes would create jobs, increase national income and spur socio-economic development.

However, he called for the effective implementation of health measures, with the participation of the private sector, to ensure that the economy, society and tourism run smoothly and with minimal risk of a new outbreak of the novel coronavirus.


  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration