Phnom Penh has asked Hanoi to resume direct flights between Cambodia and Vietnam to boost tourism between the two countries now that the Covid-19 outbreak appears to be waning.
The statement was made during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the newly-minted Vietnamese ambassador to Cambodia on November 24 at the Peace Palace.
State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told The Post that Cambodia was ready in case Vietnam were to allow the resumption of flights, and added that Vietnam Airlines had just submitted an application.
“Flights with Vietnam can be a bit cumbersome for tourists because the country has an eight-day quarantine requirement,” he said.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy said the prime minister’s request is a “clear vision” to increase tourist arrivals, especially those inbound from Vietnam.
He said EU tourist groups frequent Vietnam, and that the Kingdom also stands to benefit as Vietnam Airlines is the flag carrier for the neighbouring country.
“Vietnam Airlines is well known in the European Union, and if more EU tourists come, that automatically means that they will enter Cambodia, so [the prime minister’s] proposition to Vietnam is a benefit for Cambodian tourism.”
All Dream Cambodia Travel Co Ltd executive director Huot Kheang suggested that it would be “best” if Vietnam were to resume direct flights with Cambodia soon, claiming that 70-80 per cent of tourist arrivals to the Kingdom pass through Vietnam.
He said Cambodia historically had to rely on Thailand for Eurasian tourists who wanted to visit the country, but after Thai airports closed in the wake of protests – likely referring to the 2008 Thai political crisis – Cambodian tour companies began to reroute trips through Vietnam.
“In the last 10 years, the number of visitors from Vietnam has increased, firstly, the prices have come down and the Vietnamese side has become politically stable,” he said, adding that a resumption of Cambodia-Vietnam flights would be a suitable supplement to the Kingdom’s tourism reopening plans.
According to a civil aviation spokesman, only Cambodia Angkor Air and Vietnam Airlines offer direct flights between the two countries.