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Tourism Ministry requests Vietnam Airlines for more flights to Kingdom

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Vietnamese officials walk up into an Airbus A350-900 at Hanoi’s Noi Bai international airport in 2015. hoANG DINH NAM/AFP

Tourism Ministry requests Vietnam Airlines for more flights to Kingdom

The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism has called on Vietnam Airlines to increase flights between the two countries to boost tourist arrivals.

The request came as Cambodia’s three international airports on Wednesday welcomed their 10 millionth passenger – a landmark moment for the Kingdom’s aviation industry.

There are currently 23 flights per day between Cambodia and Vietnam, including Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh City; Siem Reap-Ho Chi Minh City; Siem Reap-Hanoi; Siem Reap-Da Nang; and Sihanoukville-Ho Chi Minh City. These flights are largely operated by Vietnam Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air and Vietjet, according to ministry data.

‘Indispensable partner’

Speaking on Wednesday at a Vietnam Airlines award ceremony for “good achievement in ticket sales”, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon asked the airline to increase the number of flights to Cambodia to help boost growth for both countries and bring in more tourism.

He said the Kingdom is seeing a growing number of visitors, which he attributed to the government’s open-sky policy combined with efforts in facilitating smooth travel and logistics at international border gates.

“The transport industry is currently an indispensable partner in promoting and developing trade, tourism and people-to-people interaction. Air transportation has also seen remarkable advances due to its high-security principles and efficiency over other transport,” he said.

Last year, the number of passengers passing through the Kingdom’s international airports totalled 8.8 million. Phnom Penh International Airport saw 4.2 million passengers, Siem Reap International Airport saw 4.2 million and Sihanoukville International Airport nearly 400,000, according to a Cambodia Airports report.

Tourism sector insiders said expanding flights with Vietnam will help bring more tourists to Cambodia from Vietnam.

Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia Chapter chairman Sinan Thourn said on Thursday that as Vietnam has direct flights to major cities around the world, linking more flights with Vietnam will boost tourism in the Kingdom.

“Vietnam receives a lot of tourists every year, so when we expand flight routes [between our nations], it will give Cambodia more opportunity to absorb tourists from Vietnam. The expansion of direct flights with any country is completely beneficial for the Cambodian economy,” he said.

Thourn added that the expansion of flights with foreign countries can greatly boost the Kingdom’s tourism industry.

“I also hope that the Cambodian government will encourage more direct flights from foreign countries, especially with India, Pakistan and Indonesia,” he said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin similarly labelled Vietnam “a big market” that can “help Cambodia get more tourists”.

She added the expansion of flights would benefit both countries, especially in the tourism and transportation sectors.

According to Ministry of Tourism figures, Cambodia’s total number of foreign tourists was more than 4.8 million in the first 10 months of this year, of which 619,196 came from Vietnam.

That figure was down 4.7 per cent compared to the same period last year, and ranked Vietnamese visitors second behind China with 1,628,846.

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