Tuesday, 18 January 2011 21:25 Soeun Say
Direct flights between Cambodia and Myanmar will start next month, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said.
A twice-weekly service from Siem Reap to Yangon, to be operated by Myanmar Airways International, will start on February 23, he said after a signing ceremony in Phnom Penh today.
Direct flights were “about [creating] connectivity among ASEAN members to boost ASEAN tourism”, he said.
Thong Khon and his Myanmar counterpart Soe Naing signed the agreement to
officially launch the route at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra hotel.
The two nations began exploring direct flights in 2007, and Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar Prime Minister U Thein Sein discussed the possibility of beginning direct flights at a Phnom Penh summit in November last year.
Say Sokhan, civil aviation adviser to the Council of Ministers, said he welcomed the establishment of direct flights to Myanmar.
“This is the first time for both countries,” he said, expressing hopes the route would help both nations boost tourism.
Cambodia received 2,614 visitors in 2010 who claimed Myanmar as their country of residence, according to Ministry of Tourism statistics.
Officials also requested that Russia and Japan begin regular direct flights to the Kingdom during the ongoing ASEAN Tourism Forum in Phnom Penh.
“We are hopeful that if we have direct flights with Russia and Japan, tourists will increasingly come to our country,” said Thong Khon.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JEREMY MULLINS