Launching direct flights linking Cambodia and Laos was top of the agenda during a two-day official visit by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the neighboring nation .
The Cambodian premier visited Laos on February 13 and 14 to discuss strengthening bilateral ties with Laotian Prime Minister, Sonexay Siphandone, with a strong focus on tourism.
A joint statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the two prime ministers stressed the significance of the tourism industry, which holds a vital place in socio-economic progress.
Both leaders welcomed the revival of direct flights by Lao Airlines between Luang Prabang, Pakse, and Siem Reap.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen has encouraged the revival of direct flights between Phnom Penh and Vientiane now that both countries have fully reopened,” the statement said.
Chhay Sivlin, president of Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said to attract tourists, direct flights are desired in many nations, not just Cambodia. Direct flights are the preferred and convenient option over indirect flights that involve multiple connections.
She added that the best way to avoid bad connections, with flight delays potentially meaning passengers miss their connecting flight, is to book a direct flight.
While airlines are willing to compensate passengers who miss connecting flights due to delays or cancellations, this is often not given until after the trip.
The benefit of direct flights for Cambodia is that they offer more convenience for passengers and provide easier access to the country. Direct flights are also often cheaper than routes that take in multiple stops.
Another issue with connecting flights is that occasionally they do not coincide. This means visitors remain in transit in countries and can face additional costs for accommodation and meals, Sivlin added.
A direct trip for passengers has the advantages of saving time, being cheaper, and more convenient as passengers can remain on the same plane from take off at their original destination until they land in Cambodia.
“People are made aware of Cambodia by direct flights, which means there is a great deal of potential to be interested in direct flights. This serves as an indirect advertisement for Cambodia. There is no possibility if there are indirect flights,” Sivlin said.
She added that an increase in tourism will help the economy grow, and large aircrafts landing via direct flights from long haul destinations will also generate revenue for the economy.