Tourism minister calls for more flights from Vietnam

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A Vietnam Airlines plane takes off. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Tourism minister Thong Khon on Wednesday called upon Vietnam Airlines (VN) to increase their flight frequency to Cambodia, particularly to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and the coastal areas, in response to a big jump in demand.

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Speaking at a Vietnam Airlines’ award event, Mr Khon said international tourist arrivals to Cambodia have increased remarkably, attributing it to peace and political stability in the Kingdom, the government’s open sky policy, as well as the opening of international border checkpoints with neighboring countries.

“We urge Vietnam Airlines to expand its flights from Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and the coastal areas.

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“We also call on tour operators, and relevant stakeholder to continue supporting and boosting the promotion of the Cambodian tourism sector both to the domestic and international markets through the creation of new tourism products, tour packages, including those linked to events, and ceremonies to attract tourists,” Mr Khon said.

Mr Khon said that to support the dynamic growth of tourism, the development of air, land, water and rail transportation and other infrastructure is necessary.

The minister also said Cambodia wants to attract about one million Vietnamese tourists in 2020, putting the current number of tourists from Vietnam at 900,000.

He said 15 percent of Vietnamese tourists use air transport while the rest uses water, air and land transportation systems.

A report from the Ministry of Tourism shows that 619,195 Vietnamese tourists visited the country from January to October, a fall of 4.7 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

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A large number of Vietnamese tourists visit the country for holiday purposes, while 38,217 came for business purposes.

Chuk Chumnor, spokesman of the Ministry of Tourism, told Khmer Times, “Vietnamese tourists spend more money and stay longer in the country. The main destination for Vietnamese tourists to Cambodia is Angkor Wat, followed by Phnom Penh and the coastal areas.”

Sin Chansereyvutha, spokesman at the State Secretary of Civil Aviation, said there are 54 flights per week between Cambodia and Vietnam. He said Vietnam Airlines operates about 47 flights every week.

“According to the air service agreement between Vietnam and Cambodia, they are allowed to add more flights. This is the flexibility they have and they just have to send us a letter and we will approve the flights,” Mr Vutha said.

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