Local conglomerate Royal Group of Companies Ltd (RGC) and Hong Kong-based Seaplane Asia Ltd have entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement to create Royal Group Samra Seaplane, begin seaplane operations in Cambodia, and improve interconnectivity as well as air access.
The agreement, signed by RGC chairman Kith Meng and Seaplane Asia CEO Dennis Keller on June 9, “aims to set new standards for high-quality and scalable seaplane transportation and lifestyle services, catering to a wide range of needs beyond tourism”, according to a joint statement.
The JV between RGC and Seaplane Asia “brings together their collective strengths and expertise to establish Royal Group Samra Seaplane as a trusted partner for versatile and reliable transportation services in Cambodia”, the statement said.
“[RGC] brings its deep understanding of the local market, a strong network, and a successful track record of transformative ventures. Seaplane Asia offers its expertise in seaplane services across the region, technical and operational know-how, and access to a fleet of amphibious Cessna Grand Caravans.
“The venture is committed to maintaining the highest safety standards, regulatory compliance, and sustainable practices, collaborating closely with all relevant stakeholders,” it said.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, RGC’s Meng stated that the JV “represents our commitment to driving innovation and improving transportation options for both locals and tourists in Cambodia”, as quoted by the statement.
“With Royal Group Samra Seaplane, we aim to create an extraordinary and unforgettable travel experience, seamlessly connecting Cambodia’s stunning landscapes in ways never seen before,” he added.
Seaplane Asia’s Keller enthused over Cambodia’s prospects for amphibious seaplane operations, highlighting the Kingdom’s “extraordinary” natural beauty, burgeoning tourism industry and expanding economy, the statement noted.
“We could not have picked a better partner with [RGC], a highly reputable and forward-thinking company, to introduce our premium seaplane service in the Kingdom. Together, we will write a new chapter in the Cambodian aviation and transportation sectors and unlock unparalleled travel and lifestyle opportunities,” he was quoted as saying.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia received 1,291,539 international visitors in the first quarter of the year, skyrocketing by 709.51 per cent from 159,546 in the year-ago period, but still down 31.22 per cent from the 1,877,853 recorded in the same time of 2019.
Thailand accounted for the lion’s share of these travellers at 424,241 or nearly 32.85 per cent, followed by Vietnam (207,527; 16.07%), mainland China (132,665; 10.27%), Laos (61,709; 4.78%), the US (54,672; 4.23%), South Korea (52,578; 4.07%), France (33,442; 2.59%), Russia (32,125; 2.49%), the UK (31,057; 2.40%) and Indonesia (30,522; 2.36%).
In the January-March period, 481,582 international visitors flew into Cambodia, representing 37.29 per cent of the total, while 792,432 (61.36%) entered overland, and 17,525 (1.36%) arrived via waterways.