- Special Pages
By Isabel Ovalle
PHHOM PENH: Cambodia expects the new flight from Doha to Phnom Penh launched on February 20 by Qatar Airways will bring in more visitors from emerging markets in Europe and Asia.
Coincidently, the number of visitors that travelled to and from Cambodia from the Middle East saw an increase of 21.4 percent in 2012, reaching 1,082.
However, an official from Cambodia Airports said that Qataris and people from the Gulf countries (or even from the Middle East) have not yet appeared significantly on their radar as visitors.
The European continent has always been a dominant traffic contributor into Cambodia, especially from France, Germany, and the UK.
At the same time, awareness about Cambodia is steadily spreading across other European countries, such as Russia and Italy, said Patrine Tay, Marketing and Sales Director of Cambodia Airports.
He added: “Doha is strategically located to capture the connecting traffic. We are optimistic that Qatar’s connectivity will open up new and emerging markets across both continents.”
On the other hand, the number of Cambodians travelling to Qatar is not significant.
Local hospitality establishments were very optimistic about the new connection with Doha. Nevertheless, the number of Qatari or Middle Eastern clients is still very low in the small five-star offer of the Cambodian capital, which includes three hotels.
In the tourist city of Siem Reap, widely known for its temples, the number of high range hotels is higher but the figures regarding visitors from the region is also low, with Asia and Europe being the strongest markets for this destination, which according to an official from a local travel agency, will also be benefited from the Doha-Phnom Penh flight.
With the launch of daily scheduled services, Qatar Airways became the only Middle Eastern airline flying to the South East Asian nation.
During a ceremony in Cambodia, Qatar Airway’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said that it was in the airline’s plans to implement a direct flight between the two capitals, given that the current one stops in Ho Chi Minh city.