Several airlines operating in Cambodia are reporting major decreases in ticket sales this month in the wake of the attacks against the US, continuing the downward trend for tourism in Cambodia, executives and ministry officials said.
President Airlines and Royal Air Cambodge both reported a 30 percent to 40 percent decrease in ticket sales, while Siem Reap Airways—a subsidiary of Bangkok Airways—canceled all flights to and from Ho Chi Minh city, executives from the airlines said.
Although employees from Presidential Airlines and Royal Air Cambodge confirmed the Sept 11 attacks on New York and Washington caused the decreases, employees from Siem Reap Airways did not give a reason for halting flights to Ho Chi Minh city.
“People are worried about safety and the economy, so they are canceling their flights or delaying them for later,” an executive at Royal Air Cambodge said. Malaysians and Singaporeans have canceled the most because they expect an economic slowdown to hit Southeast Asia due to the US recession, the executive said.
“Nobody is coming and no one seems to be going anywhere,” said Sambo Che, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism. “Hopefully it will improve, but for the moment it is very difficult.”
The numbers for tourism “are not looking good,” Sambo Che said, adding the Ministry of Tourism does not have tourism figures for September. “All the hotels and airlines are all reporting cancellations.”
An estimated 4,000 tourists from the US and Europe have canceled trips to Cambodia so far, Reuters quoted a representative from the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents as saying.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism are scheduled to take trips to China, Japan, and England in the coming months to promote Cambodian tourism, Sambo Che said.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel advisory for Cambodia, saying travel to border areas “should be avoided because of factional fighting in the northwest part” of Cambodia.
Officials from the Canadian Embassy could not be reached for comment Sunday.