Strict Rules likely to Accelerate Cambodia’s Tourism Collapse

Cambodia, COVID-19, foreign travellers, quarantine

Cambodia tourism plunged by almost 60% from January to May. The kingdom’s tourism industry is unlikely to recover due to the surrealistic entry conditions impose to foreign travellers.

Cambodia received 1.17 million foreign visitors during the first five months of 2020, down 59 percent from 2.88 million over the same period last year, said a report released by the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday.

China, Vietnam, Thailand, the United States and South Korea were the biggest sources of foreign tourists to the Southeast Asian country during the January-May period this year, the report said.

In May alone, Cambodia got only 10,475 foreign visitors, a drop of 97.8 percent from 472,952 over the same month last year, it added.

The sharp decline in the number of foreign tourists to Cambodia was due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the country to impose entry restrictions for all foreign travellers since March.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said last month that Cambodia could lose about 3 billion U.S. dollars of tourism revenue in 2020 due to the remarkable drop in international tourist arrivals. “For 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the number of foreign tourists to Cambodia can drop by 70 percent,” he said.

A major problem that tourism in Cambodia currently faces is the new rules set for foreign travellers who would eventually decide to spend a holiday in the Kingdom.  To enter Cambodia today, foreign nationals must have an insurance certificate covering $50,000 of expenses, be screened for COVID beforehand and have a certificate of non-contamination, written in English, dated less than 72 hours before arrival. But not only! He must go again into another COVID testing and then be taken in a quarantine centre to wait for the result> It the test is negative, he must stay for 14 days in self quarantine. If negative, he will be taken to a hospital. All of these medical ckeck-up and quarantine measures are to be paid by travellers, who have to leave a US$3,000 deposit. Formalities which probably will discourage travellers to be back for a long time.

Tourism is one of the four sectors supporting Cambodia’s economy as the country attracted 6.6 million international visitors in 2019, earning a total revenue of 4.9 billion U.S. dollars.

(Partial source: Xinhua)