Cambodia Begins Relaxing Entry Restrictions

Since the start of the pandemic in the country, the Cambodian authorities have, for the first time, eased entry restrictions. Travelers from Spain, Italy, Iran, the UK, France, and the US are now allowed to enter the country. However, all the incoming passengers will have to meet the strict guidelines of the Cambodian health ministry. The decision comes after the country had successfully suppressed the spread of coronavirus.

Cambodia Angkor Air
This is a favorable decision as far as the Cambodian carriers are concerned. Photo: Angkor Air

Cambodia has been one of the most successful countries to have wholly controlled the coronavirus. Since its first case in late-January, the country has only recorded a total of 122 cases and no deaths. Moreover, no new cases have been recorded in the country since early-April. Currently, there are no active cases in the South East Asian country.

What are the guidelines?

In the last month, many countries in Asia have witnessed an increase in air travel demand. Although tourism-related demand might not revive until next year, there is a need for flights to cater to essential travel like repatriation.

Cambodia has a significant ex-pat population. It is estimated that almost 200,000 foreigners live in the country. The decision by the government authorities will allow many such people to return home after a gap of nearly two months.

However, safety is still the priority, and the country can’t afford to allow another wave of the pandemic. Hence, any traveler from the aforementioned countries will have to produce a certificate showing that he/she has tested negative for coronavirus. Moreover, the document should not have been created more than 72 hours before the person’s arrival in Cambodia.

Additionally, each traveler is required to have health insurance equivalent to $50,000. The country has not yet imposed any strict quarantine requirements on these travelers.

Flight operations

Given Cambodia’s situation, many airlines have shown an interest in starting flights to the country. International carriers like China Airlines and EVA Air have already resumed flights to and from the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Major operators like Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Thai Airways International, and Qatar Airways are likely to resume flights to Cambodia in June and July.

Etihad Airways, Beijing Daxing, Fifth Freedom
Flights between China and Cambodia have already resumed. Photo: Etihad Airways

It was earlier reported that overall air traffic in the country had dropped by more than 90% in April. As of May 6, the airline industry had started to revive somewhat. As many as five scheduled flights, three to China and two to South Korea, were operated on specific days. Domestic destinations like Sihanoukville and Siem Reap will see scheduled services soon.

Emirates last year launched Bangkok-Phnom Penh flights. Photo: Emirates News Room.

Separately, Cambodia has also extended a support program for its civil aviation sector. The Civil Aviation Authority of the country has exempted local airlines from paying a minimum tax and also allowed a delayed loan repayment. This has helped the airlines in sustaining their business and in initiating a fast recovery of the country’s airline industry.

What do you think of Cambodia’s road to recovery? Let us know in the comments.