In response to increasing passenger demand and a commitment to promote tourism, trade and investment between Cambodia and India, national flag carrier Cambodia Angkor Air announced it will launch a direct flight between the two nations’ capitals. 

“We proudly introduce our new flight to India. Starting from June 16, Cambodia Angkor Air will embark on an extraordinary journey as we launch the first-ever direct flight from Phnom Penh to New Delhi with four flights per week to serve the Cambodia-India Tourism Year in 2024,” the airline stated on March 24.

It described the new Phnom Penh-New Delhi route as an extension of its commitment to serve passengers by offering convenient connections to exciting destinations.

“A journey to the historical wonders [of both nations] is a dream come true for adventurers who seek to explore numerous temples, historical sites and stunning natural surroundings. Therefore, this new route will attract more tourists and business travellers, contributing to the tourism and economic sectors of both countries,” said the airline.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter, told The Post recently that the airline’s plan will greatly benefit tourism and trade between the two countries. 

He noted, however, that the success of the operation hinges on pricing.

“This is the good news that we have been waiting for many years. I have said numerous times that the Indian market is very important because India is a great nation, in terms of its number of travellers around the world. India … has both longstanding culture and tradition,” he said.

According to Sinan, the Indian tourism market is divided into three categories: cultural and historical; shopping and nightlife; and religion.

He said Indian visitors like travelling to Phnom Penh and ancient temples in Siem Reap and Battambang provinces.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia welcomed 5.45 million foreign tourists in 2023, a 139.5% increase from 2022, including 68,836 Indian tourists, a 102.4% increase.

Indian visitors were ranked 14th after tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Laos, the US, South Korea, Indonesia, France, the UK, Malaysia, Australia, Japan and Russia.

In 2023, trade between Cambodia and India totalled $485.7 million, a 10.4% increase from 2022. The Kingdom exported $293.06 million worth of goods to India, up by 49%, and imports were valued at $192.64 million, a decrease of 20.8%. 

India is currently the Kingdom’s 17th-largest trading partner, as per the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

In 2019, Cambodia recorded its highest number of international tourists, with 6.61 million arrivals, a rise of 6.6% from 2018, including 75,286 Indian tourists, a 14.3% increase, according to the ministry.