In Cambodia’s Siem Reap, $990m airport faces hurdles to success

Ambitious plan to attract 10 million travellers is complicated by broken contracts and an uncertain pandemic recovery.

Down a dirt road in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, behind homes and a few sundry shops, construction teams are busy working to transform an empty rice field into an international airport capable of handling 10 million travellers by 2030.

The Cambodian government has touted the Chinese-developed Angkor International Airport project as a boon for the province’s tourism industry, which was suffering from declining numbers of visitors even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities have also promoted the $900m airport, located about 50km (31 miles) from Siem Reap city, as a way of protecting the world-famous tourist attraction Angkor Wat, which suffers from noise pollution caused by the existing airport nearby.

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