Cambodia Tourism Minister Thong Khon is calling for more direct flights between Asean countries.
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The minister made the call during the opening of the 50th Asean National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) Meeting in Siem Reap. Cambodia hosted the annual event on July 10-12. In attendance were tourism officials and representatives from the ten Asean countries.
The minister said direct flights are critical to the development of tourism industries of countries within the regional grouping.
The minister stressed the need for Asean countries to continue working together to address the many challenges facing the tourism sector.
He cited the case of Cambodia, where recently established direct air links to the Philippines and Indonesia are expected to bring in more visitors. The countries involved are also expecting trade ties between them to flourish because of the direct flights.
After Philippine Airlines (PAL) started flying direct from Manila to Phnom Penh, then-Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia Christopher Montero said he expects more Filipino businesses to invest in Cambodia in the next few years. PAL flies five times a week to Cambodia.
Trade between Cambodia and Indonesia is also expected to grow after the Indonesian carrier Citilink started flying three times a week between Phnom Penh and Jakarta last month.
While direct flights are common among more developed countries in Asean, there are still some countries in the region that are not connected by air.