Myanmar National Airlines, the country’s national flag carrier, has reportedly rejected a chance to operate direct flights between the top tourist destinations of Bagan and Siem Reap.
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Opening up the route had been suggested as part of Cambodian government efforts to promote the cities as a single tourism destination and increase the number of visitors.
The Myanmar Times reported on Tuesday that the Myanmar carrier believed that demand was too low to justify the service.
Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation said the airline applied for a licence to operate between the two destinations last year.
“We have an agreement between the two countries over the aviation sector, so when airlines apply for licences, we welcome it,” SSCA spokesman Sinn Chansereyvutha said.
“Whether they operate or not depends on the airlines. If they find a potential market that makes a profit, they will come online.”
The air route plan came in response to a campaign by the tourism bodies of both countries to share tourists.
Cambodia and Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding in November, agreeing to intensify collaboration to increase the flow of national and third-country tourists to the temples of Angkor in Siem Reap and to the ancient city of Bagan in Myanmar.
The MoU aimed to strengthen and promote tourism cooperation between both nations, as well as boosting the flow of tourists between Cambodia and Myanmar.
The “Two Countries, One Destination” campaign seeks to do just that by creating a single tourism destination known as Angkor-Bagan.
Tourism operators expected an increase in tourism through a direct air link.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, said: “It is a good model of development for the tourism industry, similar to what we already have with Thailand.”