Laos and Cambodia signed a deal on Monday to encourage regional airlines to increase services between both countries in a bid to encourage tourism, according to Khmer Times on 22 March 2017.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) will push airlines in both countries to operate more flights between Cambodia and Laos due to the increased demand from tourists, Mr Vann Chanty, director for air transport at Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation said.
“We need to update the agreement to comply with reality and the demands of the market,” he said. “Currently, there are three airlines offering flights between Cambodia and Laos. They are Cambodia Angkor Air, Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, and they have about 21 flights per week. Through this new MoU, it will be increased to 30 flights each week,”
Mr. Chanty said that the passenger load between the two countries increased by five percent last year to 178,000 and hoped the figure will hit 200,000 in the next two years.
The new agreement will make it easier for airlines to have direct flights between Cambodia and Laos and will open up new routes, such as from Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk to Vientiane or Luang Prabang.
Although the Lao air transport market growth is slow, the new agreement will allow airlines in Laos to have more options when it comes to destinations in Cambodia.
Mr Kong Sopheareak, the director of statistics and information at the Ministry of Tourism, said 1.3 million international tourists visited Cambodia in the first two months of 2017, of which 65,675 were from Laos. This was a 64.5 percent increase compared to last year.
Cambodia wants to push for more connections by land, air and river, which will be a positive development for the tourism sector.
Tourists from Laos are among the top ten most frequent visitors to Cambodia, according to the report.
Early this month, both Cambodia and Laos, in a bid to promote bilateral tourism, announced that they would create joint tour packages to facilitate the visit of tourists to both countries.
The tour packages will focus on provinces in both countries that lie on either side of the Mekong river.
Stung Treng sits on Cambodia’s northern border with Champassak province in Laos, at the point where the Mekong River flows into Cambodia after swirling around southern Laos’ 4,000 islands.
Champassak in Laos and Stung Treng in Cambodia have agreed to jointly advertise their historic temples and eco-tourism spots to tourists.
Source: Lao News Agency