Zhejiang, a province in eastern China with its capital of Hangzhou, has unveiled a plan to open a direct flight route connecting the province and Cambodia, which aims to lure more Chinese tourists into the Kingdom.
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The plan was announced during a talk on Monday between Tourism Minister Thong Khon and vice chairman of Zhejiang Provincial Political Consultative Committee, Zhang Zexi, who said investors from the Chinese province are also seeking to invest in tourism, especially serving ageing tourists.
Tourism connectivity established with the opening of a direct flight to Cambodia will attract more Chinese visitors from Zhejiang, Mr Zhang was quoted as saying in the ministry statement.
Mr Zhang did not disclose a particular province in the Kingdom that was of interest to investors, nor which destination to be connected to, as Cambodia is home to three international airports each located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
Tourism Ministry spokesperson Top Sopheak noted that a number of Chinese airlines from different provinces already have direct flights to the three destinations in Cambodia. He said ageing tourists mostly take advantage of direct flights rather than going through a transit.
Mr Zhang said that there has been an increase in outbound traffic leaving Zhejiang, with 2.8 million tourists from the province travelling abroad last year, of which 80,000 had visited Cambodia.
“The number of tourists from the province visiting the Kingdom will further increase once the airway service launches and a relaxing place of tourism is developed,” he said.
Minister Khon noted that he introduced investors to coastal areas and areas situated along Mekong River, saying that these areas are favourable with their naturally gorgeous landscapes that would make tourists stay longer.
“We wish to see the airway connectivity to be officially launched as soon as possible in order to welcome more tourists from the province,” he said.
The minister added that China is one of the largest investors in Cambodia, noting that investment from the country last year valued at $2.7billion, accounting for 48.2 per cent of the total investment in Cambodia.
According to the ministry, Cambodia welcomed 2.4 million tourists during the first four months of this year, an 11 percent increase compared to same period last year. From the total, 887,039 tourists were from China. This year, the ministry expects to welcome 2.6 million Chinese tourists, while the number is expected to increase to three million next year, five million by 2025, and by 2030, the figure is expected to reach eight million.