Passenger traffic rate forecast to slow down in Cambodia

Passenger traffic rate forecast to slow down in Cambodia

A passenger checks his phone at Phnom Penh’s international airport. (Khmer Times photo)
A passenger checks his phone at Phnom Penh’s international airport. (Khmer Times photo)

PHNOM PENH: Passenger throughput at the three international Cambodian airports in 2020 is forecast to continue to grow but at a slower pace, according to Cambodia Airports, based on figures from the last quarter of 2019.

The prediction was made after double-digit growth occurred in consecutive previous years, according to the Khmer Times.

According to Cambodia Airports, passenger traffic grew 10.2% year-on-year in 2019 to 11.6 million passengers.

Khek Norinda, communications and public relations director at Cambodia Airports, said declining  growth at Siem Reap international airport was one of the main factors that would slow the pace of increase.

“It is an assumption based on the last three months of 2019 when passenger growth slipped 3.1 percent, a decrease that reflected softer global air demand, a steady decline in arrivals at Siem Reap and a deceleration of traffic after a burst of activity at Sihanoukville,” Khek said on Tuesday.

He added fewer arrivals from China cut the rising trend of passenger numbers at Sihanoukville.

According to figures from Cambodia Airports, Phnom Penh airport handled 6 million passengers, a year-on-year increase of 11.2% while Sihanoukville International Airport saw a 158% year-on-year rise to 1.6 million.

Siem Reap airport, on the other hand, experienced a decline of growth by12.3% year-on-year to 3.9 million.

“In Cambodia, passenger traffic trends remained positive over the year as a whole despite a fourth quarter slowdown reflecting a decline in Chinese tourism in Siem Reap, which was partly offset by traffic growth at the Sihanoukville airport,” Cambodia Airport said in a report.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Siem Reap province, home of the famed Angkor Wat temples, reportedly decreased in 2019. They were mostly Chinese tourists who have shifted their destination of choice to coastal areas, particularly in Preah Sihanouk province.

Clais Chenda, president of the Cambodia Hotel Association, urged the strengthening of the quality of tourism products and services and the creation of new ways to attract tourists.

“The private sector and the Ministry of Tourism urgently need to work hand in hand to promote and market Cambodia abroad, not forgetting the local market, which is slowly growing too. We have to discover and create more tourism sites and products.”

All staff and civil servants dealing with tourists should be able to make them feel comfortable from the moment of their arrival at the airport or at land borders. They should smile, be polite and helpful, she urged.

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