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Cambodia plans Da Nang flight to boost tourism with Vietnam

Cambodia Angkor Air will soon begin flying to Danang in central Vietnam. (Cambodia Angkor Air via Khmer Times photo)

Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed to establish a direct flight between Phnom Penh and Da Nang, in central Vietnam.

Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Administration and the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation of Cambodia (SSCA) signed an agreement to launch the new route, which will be operated by Cambodia’s national flag carrier Cambodia Angkor Air, the Khmer Times reported on Friday.

SSCA’s spokesman Chea Oun could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, told the Khmer Times on Thursday that the new route will boost the number of Vietnamese tourists to the kingdom, adding that Vietnam is one of Cambodia’s biggest tourism markets.

“Cambodia has a lot to gain from this new flight. For example, foreign tourists visiting Da Nang can now board a plane and travel directly to Phnom Penh,” she said, adding that the number of Vietnamese tourists visiting the kingdom is on the rise.

Increasing the number of international flights is the best way to reach the government’s goal of attracting 15 million tourists a year by 2030, Ms Sivlin said.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, from January to April, Cambodia welcomed about 260,000 Vietnamese tourists, a 1.2% increase compared to the same period last year.

During that four-month period, Vietnam was the second biggest tourism market for Cambodia, following China.

Speaking at a Vietnam Airlines’ award ceremony earlier this year, Tourism Minister Thong Khon urged the airline to increase the number and frequency of flights to Cambodia, particularly to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and the coastal areas.

The minister said Cambodia aims to attract about 1 million Vietnamese tourists a year by 2020. Currently, about 900,000 Vietnamese tourists visit Cambodia every year.

The minister noted that about 15% of Vietnamese tourists favour air transportation.

Trade between the two countries reached US$4.6 billion last year, an increase of 23.2%. The governments have vowed to reach $5 billion by 2020.

Top Sokpheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism, said increasing the number of international flights is a priority for the government.

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