Tourism in Cambodia will be greatly affected by the recent terrorist attacks in the US, despite assurances from the Ministry of Tourism the industry will not falter, spokesmen for hotels and travel agencies predicted Sunday.
At least 10 customers scheduled to go either to Honduras, Nicaragua or New York have canceled their flights, and four Cambodian-Americans who were scheduled to return to the US over the weekend canceled their flights because of the terrorist attacks Tuesday in New York and Washington that closed all US airports for several days, said Hem Chanly, ticketing manager at Diethelm Travel.
“Three tourist groups from Canada have canceled their flights to Cambodia,” said Hun Chantha, manager of Mittapheap Travel & Tours. “They will come [in the] next year or so.” Mittapheap Travel & Tours has an office in Canada that sends tourists to Cambodia.
Ben Bala, director of sales and marketing at the Hotel Cambodiana, said the effects of the attacks in the US will not be felt immediately, but in the next few months the number of tourists will drop significantly “just like during the Gulf War in 1991.”
“We will see in the coming months a decline in tourists from the US,” Bala said, adding that 10 guests at the Cambodiana were forced to extend their stay because of the US airport closures.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism claimed the tourism industry would not be seriously slowed by the attacks in the US.
Although most tourists visiting Cambodia come from the US, a majority of those US tourists are Cambodian-Americans who are visiting relatives. Therefore they will not cancel trips or stop visiting for fear of terrorist attacks, said Nuth Nin Doeurn, secretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism.
Thong Khon, secretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism, agreed, saying although international flights to and from the US were canceled for several days, they are now resuming.
He said there will be “no problem.”
Thong Khon said that he did not think security at Pochentong Airport and Siem Reap International Airport will be increased because the security at both airports is already adequate.