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Cambodia-Swiss Air Service Agreement: A Promising Catalyst for Tourism and Aviation Growth

by Surya Narayan
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The recent signing of a supplementary memorandum of understanding (MoU) to the Cambodia-Swiss air service agreement (ASA) is a promising development for Cambodia’s tourism and civil aviation sectors. This MoU, which focuses on promoting flight connectivity between the two countries, particularly with the upcoming Techo International Airport, is expected to encourage new international commercial flights and an increase in European visitors to the Kingdom.

The agreement supports the capacity of carriers from both countries to conduct flights and exercise their fifth freedom rights, a crucial aspect considering the still-limited demand for direct flights between Cambodia and Switzerland. This MoU will enable airlines to conduct market research and accommodate new flights, ultimately benefiting Cambodia’s potential for tourism, investment, and major international meetings.

The forthcoming Techo International Airport, scheduled to open in early 2025, will be classified as 4F, indicating a runway longer than 1,800 meters and designed for aircraft with a wingspan of up to but not including 80 meters. This classification will further boost the Kingdom’s aviation capabilities and attractiveness to international visitors.

As Cambodia’s tourism sector recovers from the pandemic, the MoU is a timely and strategic move. Ministry of Tourism figures show that the number of international tourists flying into Cambodia is approximately two-fifths of their 2019 levels, with a predicted overall volume of inbound passengers in 2024 to be roughly equal to that of 2019.

Launching flights to the European market will be an effective implementation of the international Open Skies regime. The European market is particularly valuable for Cambodia’s tourism sector due to their longer stays and higher spending on travels. The more flights available from Europe, the more Cambodia will benefit from Western guests’ visits.

In addition to the MoU with Switzerland, Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) has also signed a cooperation agreement on aviation safety with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). This agreement aims to increase the number of direct commercial flights between Cambodia and China, fostering strong growth in tourist arrivals from the Asian economic powerhouse.

The supplementary MoU to the Cambodia-Swiss ASA, along with the cooperation agreement with China, signifies a positive outlook for Cambodia’s tourism and civil aviation sectors. As the Kingdom continues to recover from the pandemic and prepare for the opening of Techo International Airport, these agreements will undoubtedly serve as catalysts for growth and attract more international visitors, boosting Cambodia’s economy and global presence.

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

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