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Japan’s largest airline asked to resume flights to Cambodia

Japan’s largest airline asked to resume flights to Cambodia

To encourage Japanese investors, the Cambodian and Japanese Chambers of Commerce are planning to request All Nippon Airways (ANA) to resume direct flights to Cambodia ahead of a scheduled September return.

Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) president Kith Meng and newly appointed Japanese Business Association of Cambodia (JBAC) president Yogo Kanda proposed the idea last week.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on Sunday that the two sides are planning to send the official letter to ANA.

“We will send a joint request that ANA resumes direct flights to Cambodia as soon as possible because the delay has hampered the return of Japanese investors to the Kingdom. This will benefit the Cambodia-Japan tourism, culture and business sectors,” he said.

The two parties also discussed ways to attract more foreign investment to Cambodia during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Heng said the Japanese side promised to promote negotiations on a free trade agreement between Cambodia and Japan and development of a digital economy in the future.

“We also discussed cooperation in digital businesses to make business between the two countries more efficient,” he said.

The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2018 to enhance cooperation and strengthen business relations in the private sector, Heng said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (Cata) president Chhay Sivlin, said she welcomed the return of flights to Cambodia.

“We cannot wait for the disappearance of Covid-19 from the earth to reactivate flights. The rehabilitation of the tourism sector needs to be resumed,” he said.

ANA has operated direct flights between the countries since 2016 but closed its Phnom Penh office on April 1 with a plan to resume operations in September.

Flights to Cambodia have dropped 98 per cent because of Covid-19, said the Secretariat of Civil Aviation.

Tourism revenue contributed 12.1 per cent to the gross domestic product in 2019 and Cambodia earned $4.91 billion in international tourism revenue – up 12.4 per cent from the 2018 figure of $4.37 billion, a report by the Ministry of Tourism said.

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