Wednesday, 17 February 2010

RBA set to begin Cambodia flights soon

Cambodia's Minister of Tourism, Dr Thong Khon, speaking to local and foreign media, during the Asean Tourism Ministers meeting at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, Jerudong, earlier this year. Picture: BT/Rudolf Portillo

via CAAI News Media

Goh De No Feb 17th, 2010


FLIGHTS from Brunei to Cambodia may begin this year which shows Asean’s tourism framework plan on further improving connectivity and transportation to facilitate intra-region travel.

Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism Dr Thong Khon told The Brunei Times in a telephone interview yesterday that they are indeed pushing for more flights going into Phnom Penh starting from Borobudur in Java, Indonesia in April, followed by flights from Brunei.

“It will take time for this to happen of course but to have Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) fly into Phnom Penh once a week will be very good for now, we need to start slow,” he said.

Dr Thong also mentioned that he had spoken to Brunei Tourism Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed about the possibility and “the people of Brunei say it’s possible”.

The Cambodian minister mentioned that Brunei is currently flying Vietnam a few times a week and a transit from Vietnam to Cambodia is another possibility.

“It’s definitely in our policy to set up these flights (Java and Brunei),” he confirmed.

When asked whether a Cambodian airline would be entering Brunei’s airspace, Dr Thong said that on his side, they have just set up and there are not enough flights yet to do so.

During the Asean Tourism Forum held last month in Brunei, Dr Thong said if Asean had the correct flight and facilities for travel like visa exemption travelling intra-region will increase more and more.

“We need this to push for a four to five per cent increase next year. The strategic plan plays a big part for this, we have already agreed on and support the structure of it,” he said, hoping the structure would be adopted by next year in Cambodia, where they will host the Asean Tourism Forum.

He said that based on the structure, Asean tourism will yet improve. “Cooperation between airlines, roads, air and cruise ships … are going to be an important part. Flights are not coming into Cambodia from Brunei, Indonesia or the Philippines, why? It should not be delayed, there needs to be more connectivity for figures to increase. Tourism cannot be developed without transport, it is very important,” he added.

In a report from Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post newspaper last week, it said that air links between Brunei and Cambodia are set to start.

In its website, the newspaper quoted ranking officials from Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism as saying international flights will also link Cambodia with Indonesia to boost tourism.

Tith Chantha, director general of the ministry, was quoted as saying that Cambodia would launch connections with Indonesia in April, while the Brunei flights will follow later.

“If the plan is successful, we believe that more and more tourists will come to visit Cambodia. We hope that tourist numbers will increase around 10 per cent in coming years.

“We are now discussing technical matters in order to facilitate the flights,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

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