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Preah Sihanouk set to pilot jabbed-tourist scheme

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A landscape view of Preah Sihanouk province. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Preah Sihanouk set to pilot jabbed-tourist scheme

Cambodia is set to welcome vaccinated tourists starting on November 30 in Preah Sihanouk province – including Koh Rong – and in the Dara Sakor area of Koh Kong province, the Ministry of Tourism announced.

According to a notice signed by tourism minister Thong Khon on October 26, Siem Reap will be the second destination to welcome vaccinated tourists starting in January 2022.

All vaccinated tourists will be eligible to visit these destinations for five days without any quarantine length required.

“All visitors taking part in the vaccinated tourism programme are only required to undergo antigen rapid testing for Covid-19 upon arrival at the international airports. If the result is negative, they can travel freely in the areas deemed safe tourist destinations where all of the resorts and attractions will be enforcing [preventive health procedures and measures],” Khon said.

Visitors who travel to Cambodia via the vaccinated tourism programme can apply for a tourist or T-class visa at any Cambodian embassy or consulate offices abroad or they can apply for an e-visa online.

However, all tourists must arrive as part of a “vaccinated visitor” tourism package or as part of a family or other small group of people who all must be fully vaccinated and “high class”, the notice said without elaborating on the latter stipulation.

All visitors need to have official vaccination certificates or cards or related documents as well as accommodation booked and paid in advance at a certified hotel within the designated safe tourism areas.

Visitors must also have health insurance that covers all medical treatments for Covid-19 while in Cambodia and travel insurance that provides compensation in the event of an emergency cancellation of their visit to Cambodia.

They must also book their return flight and be able to show their ticket or booking documents if requested.

If they are not coming directly from their home country or country of residence, they must provide their travel history for the last 14 days prior to their arrival.

And, finally, they must bring along their certificate declaring that they have tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to their flight’s departure.

“All foreign visitors have to take a PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test in Cambodia within one day of their departure to any of the safe tourism destinations – and also one day prior to their leaving Cambodia – in order to confirm their negative status before being permitted further travel,” the minister said.

Separately, Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the Cabinet plenary meeting last Friday that Cambodia may enter into a reciprocal agreement with Thailand and remove quarantine requirements for inbound travellers coming from there.

“If Thailand wants to implement this policy – then so will Cambodia – under the principle of reciprocation, so that when we go to Thailand we will not be required to quarantine and when Thais come to Cambodia they won’t be required to quarantine either.

“So then we could start flying tourists over from Thailand to visit Cambodia when we already have the principle established and one visa can cover both countries,” he said.

Hun Sen reiterated that when the Thai economy reopens, if Thailand determines that Cambodians are not required to quarantine upon arrival, then Cambodia will fully reciprocate that policy.

“If Khmer go to Thailand without having to quarantine, then we will not require any Thais coming to Cambodia to quarantine either under the principle of reciprocity,” he said.

When reached for comment, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said she did not have any further information on the matter.

The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh told The Post via email that the embassy was also just hearing about this from news reports and was looking forward to receiving an official communication from the Cambodian government on this matter before discussing the possibility of reciprocation.

Asked for further comment, an official at the embassy said only that starting from November 1, all fully vaccinated travellers inbound from 46 countries and territories, including Cambodia, will be permitted to fly into Thailand with just a negative PCR test result upon arrival and with no further quarantine required.

“A similar easing of measures on the Cambodian side would greatly benefit people residing in both countries and allow a full-range of economic activities to resume,” said the embassy representative.

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