Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai flights ‘will reboot trade’

Thai flights ‘will reboot trade’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia welcomed 153,811 Thai visitors in the first four months of this year, up 21 per cent year-on-year from 127,085. THAI AIRWAYS INTERNATIONAL PCL/THE NATION (THAILAND)

Thai flights ‘will reboot trade’

Cambodia's private sector welcomes the possibility of resuming passenger flights to Thailand, which they say could help alleviate the crushing impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on sectors such as retail and tourism.

This comes as mall operators in Thailand called on the government to resume flights from CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) nations, aiming to stimulate the country’s reeling retail industry.

Mayuree Chaipromprasit, senior executive vice-president for marketing at Siam Piwat Co, the operator of Iconsiam and Siam Paragon, said CLMV tourists present a low risk of spreading Covid-19 in Thailand, citing the low number of reported cases in the region.

She said they have high purchasing power and account for the bulk of visitors to retail outlets operated by her company, Bangkok Post reported on Wednesday.

Visitors to the inter-connected Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon in Pathum Wan district’s Pathum Wan commune in the Thai capital Bangkok comprise of about 40 per cent foreigners, of which some 30 per cent are from the CLMV region, she said.

If the figures are accurate, this means that around 12 per cent – or nearly one in eight – of all visitors to the three shopping malls are from a CLMV country.

Bangkok Post quoted Mayuree as saying: “Tourists from the CLMV have spent an average of 100,000 baht [$3,250] per visit . . . These shoppers enjoy a variety of services, from fashion to beauty, helping distribute income to various business owners.

“We would like the government to encourage spending in Bangkok, which suffered a greater impact from the pandemic than provincial areas.”

The Mall Group Co Ltd chief marketing officer Voralak Tulaphorn said that given the Thai retail sector’s reliance on tourism, the company expects the 3.6 trillion baht industry to shrink at a double-digit rate this year, reported Bangkok Post.

She was quoted as saying: “About 50 per cent of our customers have resumed shopping, but sales have yet to recover accordingly because most shoppers who come to the stores have specific needs they are shopping for instead of just browsing as they did before the pandemic.”

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng welcomed the plea, saying that the resumption of flights would not only generate economic activity in Thailand, but also in Cambodia.

He noted that Cambodia had not banned flights with Thailand. “Resumption of flights and the resumption of business activities will be a major boon, not only benefiting them, but also Cambodia.

“I support the idea, because our government has already put measurements in place concerning foreign passengers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin also welcomed the proposition, saying it will help spur trade and tourism exchange between the countries despite the coronavirus not being fully contained.

She said: “We’ve observed that the coronavirus spread has hit purchasing power and national economies hard. National leaders have taken very strict measurements to prevent further spread.

“The situation has seen vast improvement. We cannot wait until the pandemic is over to resume business – we will die or face bankruptcy.”

Cambodian government imposed compulsory Covid-19 prerequisites on foreigners arriving in the country, including the possession of a minimum $50,000 health insurance, Covid-19-free health certificate and a $3,000 deposit for health checks.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand was worth about $3.1 billion in the first four months of the year, up 18.3 per cent over the same period last year, data from the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok show.

International tourist arrivals to Cambodia took a sharp 51.97 per cent nose dive in the first four months of the year to 1,160,067 from the 2,415,509 during the year-ago period, data from the Ministry of Tourism show.

But Thai tourists continued to visit in droves, numbering 153,811 during the period, up 21 per cent year-on-year from 127,085.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from