Cambodian tourism industry prepares to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travelers after Prime Minister Hun Sen indicated on September 17 that the Kingdom may soon open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from china.
Cambodia Chinese Tour Guides Association (CCTGA) President Tea Kileng told The Post on September 19 that CCTGA members look forward to getting back to work and welcoming international visitors again, in especially those from China.
This puts an end to the grueling nearly two-year wait for tourism employers, he enthused, noting that a significant portion has been forced to look for other ways to make a living.
“We are ready to welcome [Chinese] tourists in Cambodia, even if we do not think that there will be many at this first stage “, he conceded.
He shared that virtually all of the CCTGA members have been vaccinated, noting that there were 827 before Covid-19 hit.
Cambodian Association of Travel Agents President Chhay Sivlin said the private sector was eager to reopen as soon as possible to allow vaccinated foreign travelers to explore and experience the Kingdom again.
And as Thailand and Vietnam test partial and restricted border reopening programs, Sivlin warns Cambodia will lose potential visitors to neighboring countries if opening plans are left on the back burner for too long.
Alluding to the fact that Cambodia has better control of the Covid-19 crisis than its neighbors, she stressed that countries with a lower risk of contracting the new coronavirus and higher rates of vaccination against the pathogen should be the first. to reopen.
“The high vaccination rate in Cambodia will be a crucial consideration for reopening Cambodia to foreign visitors who have taken the vaccine. We look forward to receiving them with open arms,” ââshe said.
The Tourism Ministry has repeatedly stated that the plan is to open Cambodia’s borders to fully vaccinated international tourists in October-December.
Speaking at the launch of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign for children aged 6 to 11 on September 17, the Prime Minister indicated that he wanted to allow all businesses to reopen soon if the Covid situation– 19 shows significant signs of improvement.
âNobody wants to see closures like this, our people want to get out. I first want to reopen the education sector, followed by the service sector … [including] domestic tourism – our people want to travel on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, âhe said, indicating that international tourism would follow shortly thereafter.
But he stopped before abolishing quarantine requirements, at least in the short term, one of the options that had been on the table.
Instead, he hinted at a model reminiscent of the âsandboxâ programs piloted in Thailand and Vietnam, with a seven-day quarantine period in controlled but less restrictive settings, during which interprovincial travel is permitted. prohibited.
“It will not be quarantine in the room,” he assured.
Citing the strong relationship between Cambodia and China and the relatively low rate of new daily Covid-19 cases recorded in the Kingdom, Hun Sen said Chinese tourists could be the first to be allowed into any reopening program.
“Now let’s all think about a way to reopen to [international] tourists. Do not forget that the services lead the economies of the developed countries â, he underlined, underlining the lucrative character of the tertiary sector which, according to him, overshadows industry and agriculture.
Cambodia recorded just $ 1.023 billion in international tourism receipts last year, a drop of 79.4% from $ 4.919 billion in 2019 due to the far-reaching effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic , reported the Ministry of Tourism in April.