The number of flights handled at Cambodia’s three international airports continued to climb in July, during the general election season, with no notable cancellations, according to State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman Sinn Chanserey Vutha.
The Kingdom on July 23 held its seventh quinquennial election since the UN-administered vote in 1993, which was contested by 18 political parties and saw a turnout of 84.58 per cent of the nearly 9.711 million eligible voters nationwide, according to the National Election Committee (NEC).
Chanserey Vutha told The Post on July 24 that the Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville international airports are handling a steadily increasing number of flights per week, standing at about 850 in the first two weeks of July and anticipated to rise to 878 in the third and fourth weeks of the month.
“According to information that the airlines have provided us, I can see that no flights have been cancelled due to concerns about the general election.
“I can confirm that the election situation had no material impact on the volume of tourists entering or leaving any of our three international airports,” he said.
Even so, Chanserey Vutha did admit, however, that these weekly flying numbers fall short of what the authorities had anticipated.
Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia Chapter chairman Thourn Sinan similarly commented to The Post that foreign tourists are still coming to the Kingdom, in light of the national election, albeit in fewer numbers than before Covid-19.
“Despite knowing that we are holding the national election this year, tourists are still travelling to our country. While some international visitors who arrived during the election joined us in the experience, others who didn’t did not show any concern either,” he said.
To recap, the Ministry of Tourism reported that Cambodia welcomed nearly 2.164 million international visitors in the first five months of the year – or 74.91 per cent of the 2.888 million tallied during the same time of 2019 – of which 36.08 per cent or 780,795 arrived by air, the equivalent of 38.67 per cent of the 2.019 million recorded in January-May 2019.
Broken down by destination, Phnom Penh International Airport received 572,472, Siem Reap International Airport 201,490, and Sihanouk International Airport 6,833, the equivalent of 61.97 per cent, 23.81 per cent, and 2.75 per cent of their respective January-May 2019 totals.