Air traffic to Cambodia’s three international airports increased by 23 percent in the first two quarters of 2017, due largely to growing Chinese tourism and the increased number of international flights to Sihanoukville, a spokesman for Cambodia Airports which operates the Kingdom’s three international airports said yesterday.
Khek Norinda, communications director of Cambodia Airports, said passenger arrivals at airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville surged during the first six months of the year, up 23 percent year on year to reach 4.2 million arrivals, he said. According to Norinda, arrivals at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports grew by 20.3 and 20.7 percent in this period respectively. He put the the strong growth down to a marked increase in arrivals from China, as well as increased visits from other countries in the region.“The number of passengers travelling from Asean countries is proof of the sustained growth in the airline industry,” he said.
Sihanoukville’s international airport saw the largest growth, with a 221 percent year-on-year increase in passenger arrivals, though starting from a low base. The growth followed the addition of several new international connections to the coastal city in the previous months; the destination has become increasingly popular with both domestic and Asean tourists, Norinda explained. “The appetite for travel from the rising middle class in Asean will further fuel growth in the air transport industry,” he predicted. “Cambodia has key assets to capture that market, including diversified tourism sites, business opportunities and also an efficient airport system.”
Norinda added that air cargo traffic also witnessed robust growth, with a 34 percent year-on-year increase during the January-June 2017. He attributed the growth to the country’s positive economic environment as well as the increased numbers of cargo carriers operating out of Phnom Penh’s international airport.
Figures from the Ministry of Tourism show a total of 2.3 million foreign tourists touched down in Cambodia during the first five months of the year. Some 1.4 million, or about 61 percent, of these arrivals were by air.