Cambodia has requested direct flights resume between the kingdom and Japan to help further promote tourism after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, asked the outgoing Japanese Ambassador, Mikami Masahiro, to help revive ANA Japanese airline direct flights from Tokyo to Phnom Penh after being suspended during the pandemic.
The request was made on Tuesday during Ambassador Mikami Masahiro's farewell visit to Khon at the Ministry of Tourism as he nears the end of his term as Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia.
During the meeting, the two officials discussed the cooperation between Cambodia and Japan, especially Japan’s efforts to help develop Cambodia, as well as contributing to the development of tourism.
Khon asked Masahiro to push for the resumption of ANA direct flights from Tokyo to Phnom Penh. The minister said that ANA has suspended flights to Cambodia since the outbreak of Covid-19.
He added that Japan has now reopened direct flights to countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, and he wants Japan to resume cooperation in the transport sector with Cambodia to boost tourism.
The Japanese Ambassador agreed with the Minister, and said although he will end his term as Ambassador to Cambodia, he will pursue work to further expand good relations and cooperation, especially in the field of ANA’s direct return flights to Cambodia.
Chhay Sivlin, President of Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), told Kiripost on Wednesday that reinstating the route presents a huge opportunity for tourism in Cambodia. Despite there being no direct flights, Cambodia has already welcomed many Japanese visitors this year.
“Japan is such a good market that Cambodia has been looking for," Sivlin said, adding that while there is no direct flight yet, Cambodia has received nearly 19,000 Japanese tourists already within 10 months.
“Moreover, Cambodian tourists also flew to visit Japan as well,” she added.
She continued, “Therefore, if the direct flight [Tokyo-PP] is going to be available, it will boost tourist flights as well as other businesses from Cambodia to Japan and vice versa.”
She believes that resumption of direct flights between the two countries will also assist in promoting both nations’ tourism on an economic level.
In the first 10 months of 2022, Japan received more than 7,000 Cambodian tourists, while Cambodia received more than 19,000 Japanese tourists in the same period.
Cambodia and Japan are hopeful that the number of tourists visiting the two countries will continue to increase, especially with the resumption of direct flights.