Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourist numbers way up on '94 despite UK worries

Tourist numbers way up on '94 despite UK worries

Tourist numbers way up on '94 despite UK worries

M ORE visitors are flocking to Cambodia despite some United Kingdom tourist companies refusing to sell the Cambodian destination.

By October, with three months still to be counted, tourism numbers were up 46 percent on last year - 139,921 compared to 96,020.

"Five daily flights to Angkor Wat are always full of tourists," said Thong Khon, The Secretary of State for Tourism, in an interview with the Post on Dec 27.

He said the number of tourists has increased from day to day, especially from United States, Japan, France, Australia and China.

This was despite some major British tourism companies having stopped marketing Cambodia in the wake of the recent hostage deaths and continuing security concerns.

The British Government, in a general notice on Nov 1, advised its citizens not to travel to Cambodia.

In a Travel Trade Gazette report published early this month, UK operators reported many cancellations of holidays since late October.

"We've stopped selling Cambodia," Ms Sarah Erskine, Kuoni UK's product manager, was quoted saying: "There has been no activity since the Foreign Office advisory. We haven't dropped it but obviously if this happens again and again, we will. Security is paramount to us."

Chris May, director of Premier Holidays, said he would not comment if Cambodia would be featured in Premier's 1996 brochure. Premier dedicated a lot of space to Cambodia in the 1995 brochure but "we've taken Cambodia off sale indefinitely," he said.

Cambodia's loss was Vietnam's gain, he said.

"We have to act on the Foreign Office advice. You cannot ignore it even though information from our local agents says it's safe to go to Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat," said Silverbird managing director Jerry Quinn.

The report said that only one travel agent, Asia World Travel, was still selling Cambodia.

Asia World Travel chief executive David Pettigrew said provided tourists only visit Phnom Penh and fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia was safe. "Going overland anywhere is a no-no".

"We explain to consumers and at the end of it, we ask them to sign a waiver saying that we've advised them. This is just to cover ourselves," Mr Pettigrew said.

He added: "We've had cancellations, I have to say. It's not a big volume destination, so the cancellation were few. I think panic got into it."

"Cambodia was doing quite well. It was convenient then to tag onto Vietnam," he said.

When asked about the British response, Thong Khon said: "I cannot give any comments. It depends on the other governments who are still sending their tourists to Cambodia because they think there is no problem with security."

He said he hoped those British companies quoted would send their tourists to Cambodia like other countries in the near future.

The ministry had recently announced revised entry visa and exit fee for tourists to Cambodia - altogether $3 cheaper than at present.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • 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

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer