Myanmar National Airlines, the country’s national flag carrier, recently applied for a licence to operate a direct flight between the cities of Bagan and Siem Reap, in a bid to increase the flow of tourists to the region as part of governmental efforts to promote the cities as a single tourism destination.
The Burmese air carrier has filed an application with Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) to begin the service, said Keo Sivorn, SSCA’s director-general, adding that his organisation was processing the application.
The direct connection between the cities – both locations for Unesco-listed world heritage sites – reflects progress in the local aviation sector, particularly in promoting the tourism industry, said Mr Sivorn, who could not give a specific date for when the service might start.
Cambodia and Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding this month, agreeing to intensify collaboration to increase the flow of national and third-country tourists to the temples of Angkor in Siem Reap and to the ancient city of Bagan in Myanmar.
As part of the agreement, the “Two Countries, One Destination” campaign seeks to do just that by creating a single tourism destination known as Angkor-Bagan.
The Myanmar Times quoted U Thet Lwin Toh, chairman of The Union of Myanmar Travel Association, as saying that negotiations regarding the new flight service were ongoing.
“We are still discussing flying a scheduled charter flight with Myanmar National Airlines that would fly three days a week,” U Thet Lwin Toh said. “But it depends on tourist demand.”
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodian National Tourism Alliance, was hopeful about the new agreement and its implications.
“It will boost tourist numbers between the two countries. It is a good model of development for the tourism industry, similar to what we already have with Thailand,” Mr Vandy said.
The Cambodian and Burmese capitals are already connected by air through a daily Emirates’ flight between Dubai and Phnom Penh with layover in Yangon.