PHNOM PENH Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism has reached an agreement with India that will help to establish direct flights between the two countries to boost tourism.
According to the ministry statement, India has pledged to enhance tourism cooperation, particularly direct flights from India to Cambodia.
The statement was made at the close of a courtesy call between Cambodia’s Tourism Minister Thong Khon and Ambassador of India to Cambodia Naveen Srivastava, last week.
The agreement to promote tourism cooperation will make it easier for airlines to secure traffic rights between the two countries. However, flying a service will still remain a commercial decision on the part of privately owned airlines in India.
inside no 2The most likely scenario would involve charter flights to Siem Reap, possibly wedding celebrations featuring the backdrop of the fabled Angkor Historical Park.
The two countries will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation, 16 September, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the statement said.
The direct flight discussion has been on the table since 2013.
inside no 2
Phnom Penh Post quoted Ministry of Tourism secretary, Tith Chantha, saying: “We don’t talk about challenges yet, but it will help more tourists come to India and Cambodia so flights are very important”
It’s the typical chicken and egg conundrum and in reality governments are not the key players that build tourism demand. That is the domain of the private sector, which responds to consumer trends and the potential to turn a profit.
Therefore it should not come as a surprise that since 2013 not a single airline, of Cambodian or Indian ownership, has indicated it was prepared to introduce direct flights between the two countries.
During January to June this year, Cambodia received 15,839 Indian tourists, up 23.4% from 4,719 during the same period last year.
Most of them are visiting more than one ASEAN nation and extend their trip beyond a gateway airport, such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, to visit Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, or they are diplomats, aid agency or NGO staff on business trips to Phnom Penh.
In 2014, Cambodia received 28,529 Indian tourists, increased 20.8% from 8,869 visits in 2013.