Cambodia Eyes Welcoming Travelers on Package Tours by October
Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism (MOT) and key tourism stakeholders from the country’s private sector, including the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, the Cambodian Tourism Federation, the Cambodian Restaurants Association, the Cambodia Hotel Association, and the Pacific-Asia Travel Association, held a meeting on 2 June to discuss plans to open the country to vaccinated tourists traveling on package tours as early as October. Tourism brings in around 32.7% share of Cambodia’s gross domestic product.
On 24 May, the MOT reportedly laid out an action plan for the gradual reopening of tourism in the country from October to December, according to the Khmer Times. The plan focuses on the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.
Mr. Chhun Makara, Director of Travel for the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, shared to the Times that the draft paper with an action plan for the gradual reopening states that:
- Opening of the kingdom to tourists would initially only be available to vaccinated travelers booked on pre-arranged package tours through registered travel agents.
- The ministry would continue to work with all members of the private sector including restaurants, resorts, and other relevant government ministries to ensure that tours to Cambodia would be priced competitively, particularly in comparison with other nations in Southeast Asia.
The MOT and the Ministry of Health will work out health-related matters regarding COVID-19, such as quarantine, testing procedures, and associated costs to tourists. The MOT is coordinating with the Ministries of Interior, Culture, and Health in order to finalize the reopening plan.
The private sector has largely reacted positively to the proposals, reported the Khmer Times.
Travel Bubbles and Green Air Corridor Strategy
Mr. Alain Brun, Chief Executive Officer of Cambodia Airports, told Khmer Times in a report published on 2 July, that Cambodia will eye bilateral agreements with traditional partners, such as the People's Republic of China and Thailand, in the initial stages. The Government is looking into travel bubbles and green air corridors with countries that have placed stringent measures to fight COVID-19.
He also shared that Cambodia is closely studying the Phuket model of Thailand to learn from its experience.
The Government of Cambodia set a goal to vaccinate 10 million by January. It has achieved more than 32% of its goal by the time of the report (6 July 2021).