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Travel industry pushes open borders for jabbed tourists

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Tourists visit Angkor Wat in Siem Reap in 2019. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Travel industry pushes open borders for jabbed tourists

The Pacific Travel Agent Association (PATA) expressed its appreciation for and thanked the Minister of Tourism Thong Khon as well as the government generally for its leaderships and initiative in dealing with the critical Covid-19 situation in Cambodia.

In a letter written to Minster Thong Khon dated June 29, PATA Cambodia Chairman Thourn Sinan also requested that the tourism ministry and the government permit vaccinated tourists to visit Siem Reap and other areas and to gradually open Cambodia’s borders.

Sinan said that travel agents were grateful for the early moves of the ministry and the government for organizing the vaccination programme for all of the tourism and hospitality industry workforce.

“This will provide confidence to our staff and show that we care for them and demonstrate to the public that we are ‘safe’ and ready to welcome back tourism both domestically and internationally,” he said.

Sinan also urged the tourism ministry to push ahead with the inter-ministerial process for granting approval for the private sector and the tourism ministry to allow vaccinated visitors into Siem Reap and Cambodia’s other major cities.

Sinan said that he and others in his industry felt that the government should also “gradually” open the borders for rest of the country as well.

“This will greatly help us in the tourism industry to recover confidence in travel, employment and business. It will slowly help us to find our way around the new norms and achieve sustainability in our livelihoods,” he said.

In April, Khon said that international tourists with proof of Covid-19 vaccinations might be allowed into Siem Reap province’s Angkor Archaeological Park in the fourth quarter of this year.

Recently, some media reports have claimed that Cambodia may allow vaccinated visitors into Siem Reap from August onward, but tourism ministry spokesperson Tob Sopheak denied these reports.

“The tourism ministry is considering the proper timing for welcoming visitors. But there is no official decision on this yet. We are still in discussions with the Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries on this topic,” he told The Post on June 29.

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