On the morning of May 9, the Choam International Border Checkpoint in Trapaing Brei commune’s Cheung Phnom village of Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district was reopened and residents were once again allowed to cross. The checkpoint had been closed for over two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the second land crossing in Oddar Meanchey to reopen, and follows the reopening of a checkpoint in neighbouring Banteay Meanchey province earlier in the month. Plans are underway to reopen a third in the near future.
The Poipet International Border Checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey opened on May 1. Strict conditions are in place, however, with people being required to buy Covid-19 health insurance and border issued visas are valid for less time than the previously were.
The official reopening of the Choam International Border Checkpoint was held in the presence of Oddar Meanchey governor Pen Kosal and Vath Thanavutthichat, governor of Thailand’s Sisaket province, and military officials of the two countries.
Oddar Meanchey provincial Department of Information director Phal Limtold The Post that it was reopened because Covid-19 cases in Thailand had fallen and vaccination rates were climbing. Choub Koki International Border Checkpoint is mooted as likely to be the third to reopen, although no date had been set.
“We hope that the local economy will recover, whether people sell Cambodian goods to Thailand or take them from Thailand to sell in Cambodia. People will be able to come and go normally and return to their old jobs, and incomes will increase for the people of both countries,” he said.
The O’Smach International Border Checkpoint in Oddar Meanchey province was reopened on May 6.
Thailand required travellers to meet certain conditions. Holders of passports are required to have a Thailand Pass, a health insurance card and a valid vaccination card to travel all over the country. Border pass holders can stay in Thailand for three days and get all vaccinations, while pre-pandemic border pass holders can stay for up to seven days.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that reopening at this time was a good sign and should encourage more tourists to travel from Thailand to Cambodia.
“Although we reopened our country before Thailand did, the flow of tourists remains limited because Cambodia has no direct flights with distant regions, and has to rely on neighbouring countries such as Thailand. Therefore, the reopening of Thai border crossings is likely to be a good indicator of better times ahead for the tourist sector of Cambodia,” she said.