Increase in Thai air links to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes
Local tourism industry players are eagerly awaiting the resumption by regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl of direct flight services between the Thai capital and the city of Siem Reap on August 1 – home to the impressive archaeological park of Angkor in Cambodia – which is expected to boost the growth rate of international tourism arrivals as travel demand between neighboring countries gradually returns to pre-crisis levels.
Bangkok Airways in a press release last week announced the decision to launch daily direct flights between Suvarnabhumi Airport in the Thai capital and Siem Reap as well as Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon on August 1, with a route to the central city of Danang in Vietnam to start a month later.
“We are more than delighted to announce the resumption of Bangkok-Siem Reap, Bangkok-Yangon and Bangkok-Danang routes after the resumption of our first three international flights between Samui-Singapore in August 2021, Bangkok-Phnom Penh in December 2021 and Bangkok-Maldives in July 2022,” Bangkok Airways Chairman Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth said in the statement.
“Flights that will soon resume between Bangkok and Siem Reap, Yangon and Danang are expected to boost tourism in Thailand as well as tourism in our neighboring countries.
“We have assured that Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam have robust processes in place to ensure that leisure and business travel between these cities can be conducted safely,” he said. he adds.
Currently, Thai AirAsia also flies from Bangkok to Siem Reap, but from Don Mueang, the other airport in the Thai capital.
Speaking to The Post on July 31, the president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents (CATA), Chhay Sivlin, argued that the return of Bangkok-Siem Reap flights reflected an increase in demand for the direct route. since the Cambodian government decided to allow a broader resumption of socio-economic activity in November as the Covid-19 pandemic ebbed.
The additional flights will increase international arrivals by air, offering travelers wishing to visit Siem Reap province an alternative to flying to the capital and then heading northwest on a long road trip. terrestrial, she said. “This is a very positive sign for Siem Reap province.”
The number of foreign tourists to Siem Reap has yet to reach pre-Covid levels, Sivlin said, adding that most come from Vietnam and Thailand, with fewer from the region, the United States or Europe. .
President of the Cambodian chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Thourn Sinan, stressed that “the more flights, the better” for the tourism industry in Siem Reap, home to the park. ‘Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“We encourage the launch of more flights to Cambodia, especially to Siem Reap,” he said, adding that while European visitors to the province remain quite limited, arrivals from Thailand are increasing. .
Bangkok Airways said the Bangkok-Siem Reap flight would be operated by an ATR72-600 aircraft, named for its standard capacity of 72 seats.
“The outbound flight PG905 departs Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi International Airport – at 10:30 a.m. and arrives at Siem Reap International Airport at 11:45 a.m. The incoming flight PG906 departs Siem Reap International Airport at 12:15 p.m. and arrives [at] Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi International Airport – at 1:55 p.m.,” he said.
Cambodia welcomed 506,762 international arrivals in the first half of 2022, representing a year-on-year increase of 394.1 percent, according to a report by the Ministry of Tourism.
Broken down by mode of entry, 240,637 visitors arrived by air, 261,515 by land and 4,610 by waterways, representing annual increases of 420.3%, 364.4% and 230.4%, respectively.
The report also revealed that holidaymakers made 6.33 million domestic trips in the first half, up 219.3% year on year, while overseas residents accounted for 0.68 million, an increase of 380, 3% year-on-year.