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Virus rule easing lifts travel hopes

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The travel trade community eagerly awaits the revival of the tourism industry after all quarantine and PCR test requirements were lifted for fully jabbed arrivals. FRESH NEWS

Virus rule easing lifts travel hopes

The travel trade community has lauded the lifting of all quarantine and PCR test requirements for fully jabbed arrivals, and eagerly await the revival of the tourism industry.

Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed the waiver of all quarantine requirements in two separate audio messages addressed to the nation on November 14, saying that anyone who has received a second Covid-19 shot of any sort can now travel anywhere in the Kingdom.

Hun Sen noted however that the 14-day rule was still in effect for those who do not have fully vaccinated status.

He said arrivals by any means of transport must undergo a Covid-19 antigen rapid test – as opposed to a polymerase chain reaction- (PCR) based nucleic acid test.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin heralded the announcement as “the most positive news” for the tourism industry.

She told The Post on November 15 that “the announcement will help our tourism sector recover as soon as possible, and we also want to encourage more flight connections.

“However, reopening the country while air transport is still limited – travellers won’t know how to enter Cambodia.”

She suggested adding more flight connections to limit the Cambodian tourism sector’s reliance on neighbouring and other ASEAN countries’ reopening plans, which she said could put off travellers from regions such as Europe that would have otherwise been keen to visit the Kingdom.

All Dream Cambodia Travel Co Ltd executive director Huot Kheang told The Post that he has long been ready to reopen to international tourists, and said his company focuses on guests from Europe.

“The problem that we’ve been worried about is that we’re only reopening three areas to where flights are very limited. However, the announcement from the government was special information on the opening-up of three kinds of transports [waterways, land and air], which has greatly put our minds at ease,” he said.

State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told The Post that the Kingdom’s three international airports are well-prepared and working with stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Health, to arrange gateway security measures.

He noted that many airlines have yet to confirm the resumption of flights “as the Covid-19 situation has been changing quickly and hence affecting air transport”, and predicted that an estimate would be clearer by next month.

The Ministry of Tourism on November 15 issued an announcement that obliges local and foreign tourists to comply with government guidelines for entering and leaving Cambodia.

The Kingdom welcomed 108,000 international tourists in the first half of 2021, down 90.8 per cent from 1.18 million in the same period of 2020, the National Bank of Cambodia reported.

And Chinese tourist arrivals to the Kingdom plummeted 87.8 per cent to 275,671 in the January-June period, the central bank said.

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