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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  19 August 2015  

Air traffic on the rise in coastal destination

Cambodia:As Sihanoukville attempts to increase tourist arrivals to the province’s beaches, the city’s international airport has seen an increase in flights, resulting in an uptick in passenger arrivals for the first seven months of the year.

Krouch Vandy, vice director of the Air Navigation Standards and Safety Department at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said beginning early this year the coastal city has seen an increase in domestic flights and international flights, including charter flights from countries like South Korea and China.

“Now there are two domestic flights that operate daily. Besides this, there are many private aircraft also operating direct flights to Sihanouk International Airport as well,” Vandy said.

He added that local airlines Cambodia Angkor Air and Bayon Airlines has daily flights connecting the southern city to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, given increased tourist and investor interest in Sihanoukville.

Khek Norinda, director of communications and public relations at Cambodia Airports, said year-on-year traffic has increased by 140 per cent at Sihanouk International Airport for the first seven months of the year, totalling over 54,000 arrivals.

“Current traffic growth results from efforts of the tourism industry – including Cambodia Airports, the airport developer – and the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism in promoting the Kingdom’s coastal areas,” Norinda said.

Ho Vandy, managing director of World Express Tours and Travel, said as Sihanoukville’s beaches become more popular, both local and international tourists will flock to the area.

“Sihanoukville is the third-largest tourist attraction after Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. It is also is also an important industrial zone,” Vandy said.

According to Vandy, tourist visits to the Kingdom’s coastal areas was only around 20 per cent of all tourist traffic.

Around 3.2 million passengers passed through the three international airport in the country from the first semester of 2015.

The number is up 14.4 percent over the same period last year.

The number of tourists who passed through Phnom Penh International Airport was 1.5 million, up 16.4 per cent, whereas arrivals at Siem Reap’s international airport was 1.7 million, up 11.2 per cent.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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