Sky Angkor Airlines (ZA, Phnom Penh) is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on its plans to reopen borders to vaccinated travellers.

The airline made the remark on September 21 during a courtesy call on Tourism Minister Thong Khon during which the latter told Sky Angkor to prepare for the impending resumption of international flights. According to a statement issued afterwards by the tourism ministry, Khon disclosed that an announcement could be expected soon by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Citing the prime minister, Khon said the re-opening would follow health protocols that would see visitors undergo seven-day quarantines at tourist destinations not affected by COVID-19 outbreaks.

He said the Tourism Ministry had released a road map on developing and boosting the country’s tourism sector during and after the pandemic. Strategic planning documents on the safe re-opening of tours had already been prepared and were awaiting approval.

Sky Angkor general manager Koo Taeoh said that once the prime minister gave the green light, the airline’s chief executive officer, Mak Rady, would work with South Korean and Chinese tour agencies to promote tourism to the Kingdom.

He also mentioned investment plans for new tourism products in the Siem Reap-Angkor area that would translate into more international travellers visiting the World Heritage Site.

Founded in 2010 and launching its inaugural flight in June 2011, Sky Angkor operated domestic flights from the capital to Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, as well as direct flights to Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, India, China, and Taiwan before the pandemic. The airline has only two A321-200s, of which only one is currently in active service, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module. As reported previously, it had suspended its A320-200 operations at the height of the pandemic last year.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry disclosed that tourism arrivals at Cambodia's three international airports had plunged 92.5% year-on-year in the first seven months of this year, reported The Phnom Penh Post.

The airports handled 51,729 international tourists between January to July 2021 compared to 693,064 logged in the same period last year. Siem Reap International Airport saw just four international arrivals, representing an almost 100% drop, while Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville international airports recorded 43,909 and 7,816 foreign tourists respectively, down 88.7% and 87.5% respectively.