Local Airlines Report Heavy Decline in Sales

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.


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