The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Cambodia’s tourism industry, with nearly 3,000 tourism and tourism-related businesses closing and more than 45,000 workers losing jobs as of May.
Cambodia is one of the Southeast Asian countries that strictly enforce restrictions on foreign arrivals to prevent the spread of the disease. However, this has led to increased unemployment and debt burden, seriously affecting socio-economic development. Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism forecast that the local tourism industry will lose 3 billion USD this year.
According to Cambodia’s regulations, all foreigners entering Cambodia must have a 3,000 USD deposit on arrival, medical insurance of at least 50,000 USD, and a health certificate declaring they are free of COVID-19
President of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents Chhay Sivlin has expressed her concern regarding the entry requirements and called on the government to ease the travel restrictions.
“Businesses would not survive if they remain in place,” she said.
According to Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon, the local tourism sector has seen some positive signs. During the first three weeks of June, more than 450,000 tourists visited Cambodia – an increase of 7.24 percent compared to the first three weeks of May.
However, President of the Asia-Pacific Travel Association Thoun Sinan said that the Cambodian tourism still depends heavily on international tourists and only domestic holidaymakers cannot save this industry. If the pandemic ends at the end of this year, the sector will recover by 20 percent and can only fully recover by 2025, he forecast. VNA
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.