Two airlines recently announced new routes connecting Phnom Penh to destinations in China.
This Friday, local carrier Cambodia Airways will launch a regular non-stop flight between Phnom Penh and Shenzhen, in southeastern China. The same company will begin flying to Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province, from Phnom Penh on Jan 2.
Shenzen and Chengdu are important transportation hubs.
“The new routes will make travelling between these three cities more convenient and give passengers more options,” the company said in a statement.
“We have been looking forward to the launch of these two routes for a long time and we expect that they will promote trade and cooperation between the countries,” it added.
Chinese-owned JC Airlines will begin flying to Guiyang from Phnom Penh on Dec 29.
Guiyang is the capital of Guizhou province, in China’s southwest.
The number of direct flights with China has been growing dramatically. Cambodian airports now handle about 500 flights to and from destinations in China every week, according to a report from the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.
SSCA recently said Phnom Penh is connected with 23 cities in China by air, while Siem Reap and Sihanoukville are linked to 23 and 15 destinations in that country, respectively.
Nineteen airlines operate routes between the countries. 14 of these airlines are Chinese and the rest local, SSCA said.
China continues to be the largest source of tourists for Cambodia.
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia welcomed more than 2 million Chinese tourists in the first 10 months of the year, up 24.4 percent compared to the same period last year.
During that period, Chinese nationals represented 38 percent of all foreign arrivals.
The ministry aims to welcome 3 million Chinese tourists a year by 2020, 5 million by 2025, and 8 million by 2030.
So Mara, secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, recently said that the ministry has prepared a strategy to attract more Chinese tourists.
“China is the biggest market for the Cambodian tourism sector. The Ministry of Tourism has drafted a series of strategies to attract more Chinese tourists. Known as the ‘China Ready’ strategy, it seeks to facilitate travel, including visa issuance, for Chinese tourists,” Mr Mara said.