Tourism establishments in Cambodia gradually reopen as Covid-19 situation eases

A Cambodian woman selling flowers at a park in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PHNOM PENH (XINHUA) - Tourism businesses in Cambodia have gradually reopened after the Covid-19 situation in the kingdom eased, Tourism Ministry's Secretary of State Tith Chantha said on Thursday (Sept 3).

Some 3,135 tourism establishments such as hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, massage-spa parlours, karaoke clubs, nightclubs, beer gardens, and tour and travel operators had been either closed or suspended between March and July due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, affecting more than 110,000 workers.

"To date, about 30 per cent of the closed or suspended tourism establishments have been reopened thanks to the demand of domestic tourists as the number of foreign visitors to the kingdom is still very low," Mr Chantha said during a press conference here.

"The gradual reopening of these businesses is very important to reduce economic hardship for both employers and employees," he said, expressing his confidence that more establishments will be reopened in coming months if the Covid-19 situation remains under control.

The South-east Asian nation has seen success in preventing the spread of the Covid-19. The kingdom has recorded a total of 274 confirmed Covid-19 cases to date, with 271 patients cured and three remained hospitalised.

Mr Chantha said that due to travel restrictions, only three to five flights, carrying fewer than 1,000 passengers in total, land in Cambodia every day, mainly from China and South Korea.

Cambodia has seen a huge slump in the number of foreign tourists during the first half of this year due to the pandemic. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the kingdom received 1.18 million foreign visitors during the January-June period this year, down 64 per cent over the same period last year.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon recently predicted that Cambodia could lose about US$3 billion (S$4 billion) in tourism revenue in 2020 due to the decline in the number of international visitors.

"For 2020, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the number of foreign tourists to Cambodia could drop by 70 per cent," he said.

Tourism is one of the four sectors supporting Cambodia's economy as the country attracted 6.6 million international visitors in 2019, earning a total revenue of US$4.9 billion.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.