Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered that Thais and foreign travelers in Thailand be allowed to fly into Cambodia without quarantine requirements.
In a voice recording shared on a governmental Telegram group, Hun Sen instructed the ministers of tourism and foreign affairs during a Council of Ministers meeting on Friday to allow the entries without quarantine.
The Thai government on Thursday announced that vaccinated arrivals from 46 countries, including Cambodia, will not have to undergo quarantine starting November 1.
“We can start to have a principle of reciprocity with Thailand. We [will be able to] go to Thailand without quarantining, [so] Thais entering our [country], they do not need to quarantine either. So [we] can begin to reopen flights for passengers from Thailand, including those coming through the country, as we already have a principle of one visa being usable in the two countries,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen added in the voice recording that Cambodia should also reopen flights from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines in another step toward reopening the country. Currently, Cambodia only has passenger flights arriving from China, Singapore and South Korea, he said.
The instructions come amid a series of moves to lower entry requirements to the country, including halving quarantine times for most arrivals starting Monday this week. Hun Sen has also ordered the reduction of Covid-19 testing as the country has achieved high vaccination rates.
Tourism Ministry spokesperson Top Sopheak said on Thursday that the ministry was already in the process of setting up procedures to welcome foreign tourists again, including to Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaeological Park.
“We’ve made many preparations and we will continue to do more,” Sopheak said, noting that the ministry had created guidelines related to transport, accommodations and food. “We have to prepare it all together.”
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said on Friday that tourism businesses in Siem Reap were beginning to prepare for a reopening.
Such work required time, money and strategic planning, and tour operators could not use the same packages of services and products as before Covid-19, she said.
“Normally, traveling is expected to be comfortable, making it easy for them to come in, so they always want to come in. Both them and us always want it that way. But if it is too difficult, compared with the neighboring countries, they will choose the one that is easier,” Sivlin said. “There’s competition, as our announcement is made after our neighbors.”