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Tourist resorts expected to start back up

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The Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site, a cluster of ancient brick temples scattered in the forest in Kampong Thom province, was listed as a World Heritage Site of Unesco in 2017. Heng Chivoan

Tourist resorts expected to start back up

At least 200 tourist resorts are expected to resume operations after the end of an inter-provincial travel ban and tourist-resort closures across the country.

On April 25, the government lifted the travel ban and ended the closures of tourist destinations across the country, except for resorts in blocked-off provinces.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post that there were a total of 557 potential resorts and tourism destinations in Cambodia, including the newly established resorts in the Covid-19 era.

Sopheak expects that at least 225 resorts – community tourism locations and other tourist destinations – will reopen after the government lifted the travel ban and ended the closure of tourist resorts across the country.

"The reopening of tourist resorts according to the policy of the Royal Government is that we only reopen in areas where there are no lockdown measures. Areas such as Phnom Penh, Takmao town and Sihanoukville and some other provinces will not be allowed a complete reopening,” he said.

He believes the reopening of resorts will help boost local economic activity.

"Overall, we can say that resorts and entertainment places, which are potential tourist destinations, really make our people and our tourists want to go on vacation during the Covid-19 era, we need to be very careful and respectful of the policy of the Ministry of Health on a regular basis," he said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin welcomed the government's decision to allow inter-provincial movement – except in lockdown provinces – and reopen resorts.

She said the reopening of resorts would help local tourism business gradually recover.

"The reopening of tourist destinations across the country will encourage more tourists after a short lockdown. People's movements can help business owners earn money to rehabilitate their businesses," she said.

The Tourism Statistics Report 2020 shows that the Covid-19 crisis has had a major impact on Cambodia's tourism sector, with revenues from international tourism reaching $1.023 billion in 2020, down 79.2 per cent year on year in 2019 which was $4.919 billion.

According to the report, 1.31 million international tourists visited Cambodia, down 80.2 per cent from 6.61 million in 2019.

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