Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Virus control key in run-up to travel return: PM

Virus control key in run-up to travel return: PM

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tourists visit O' Tres Beach in Preah Sihanouk province during Water Festival. Heng Chivoan

Virus control key in run-up to travel return: PM

The effective control of Covid-19 community transmission right now is crucial for Cambodia to welcome fully-vaccinated international tourists from the end of this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen affirmed on November 23.

Hun Sen is convinced that plans to fully reopen the economy will be set in motion by November 30 as scheduled, as the first-dose vaccination rate in the Kingdom tops 88 per cent.

The prime minister made the remarks during the inauguration ceremony for the Stung Trang-Kroch Chhmar Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge, which connects Kampong Cham province east across the Mekong River to Tbong Khmum.

He said the reopening of tourist spots and heightened domestic travel during the Pchum Ben and Water Festival holidays did not lead to a significant increase in new Covid cases or infection rates. Official figures support the prime minister’s assertion.

“In a few days, I think tourism services will be back on track, as we now start with local tourists, including the more than 10,000 foreigners who have made trips across the Kingdom. In the near future, we’ll have [international] tourists come to our country, and we won’t require them to quarantine.

“But there are pre-conditions: to get two vaccine doses in one’s own country, and confirm to be free of the Covid-19 virus, with a test.

“Secondly, travellers must undergo an antigen rapid test and receive a negative result before they can gain entry into the Kingdom anywhere,” he said, noting that PCR tests upon arrival are no longer required.

And in a likely call for observance of Covid-19 prevention measures, Hun Sen said the government has handed over a list of “responsibilities” to the people, as well as travellers to Cambodia.

The ongoing global Covid-19 crisis has greatly reduced the number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia, to 131,674 in January-September, representing an 89.4 per cent year-on-year nosedive from 1,247,680, as indicated by Ministry of Tourism statistics released on November 22.

Of these, 63,050 (or 47.88 per cent) entered the Kingdom by air, and 68,624 (52.12 per cent) by land or waterways.

Thailand was the top source market for travellers to Cambodia, at 64,459 or 48.95 per cent of the total, followed by mainland China (37,197), Vietnam (7,649), Indonesia (4,211), South Korea (2,989), the US (2,934), the Chinese island of Taiwan (2,434), France (1,624), Malaysia (1,336) and Japan (1,220).

In September alone, 9,967 foreign tourists visited Cambodia, dropping by 52.8 per cent year-on-year from 21,137.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy told The Post on November 23 that Covid concerns were the predominant reason for the dip in international tourist arrivals.

However, he believes that number will recover gradually after the government scrapped quarantine requirements for all arrivals who are fully-vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

“This is a light for foreigners who want to travel to Cambodia and for those in the tourism sector,” Vandy said.

He added that through concerted efforts, international flights have gradually begun to take off again, but asserted that “for the sector to be sustainable, both the government and the people must be involved in the implementation of measures to combat Covid-19”.

In 2020, Cambodia received a total of 1,306,143 foreign visitors, a decrease of 80.2 per cent compared to 6,610,592 in 2019, according to the ministry.


  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa