Thai Smile Airways will relaunch its direct flights to Cambodia’s Siem Reap from next week after a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism (MoT) said in a news release on Sunday.
“The Thai Smile Airways will operate direct flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap and vice versus twice a week, starting from March 3, 2022 onwards,” the MoT said.
Located in northwestern Cambodia, Siem Reap is the home of Angkor Archaeological Park, which is the kingdom’s most popular tourist destination, it said, urging local tourism associations and travel agents to help attract more international visitors to the ancient park.
According to the airline’s website, the flights will be conducted every Thursday and Saturday.
Thai Smile Airways will be the second international airline that re-introduces direct flights to Siem Reap after Singapore Airlines (SIA) relaunched its direct flights between Singapore and Siem Reap in mid-December last year.
Cambodia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers without quarantine in mid-November last year after most of its population were vaccinated against COVID-19, mostly using China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm jabs.
The MoT is confident that with its quarantine-free policy, the kingdom’s tourism industry will rebound this year after a two-year significant fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We expect that the number of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia will begin to recover from this year thanks to our country’s re-opening to fully vaccinated travelers,” Kong Sopheareak, director of the MoT’s Tourism Statistics Department, told Xinhua.
“We hope to attract more than half a million international tourists this year,” he said.
The southeast Asian nation reported a daily record of 372 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant, with zero deaths, the health ministry.
It added that since the pandemic hit the country in January 2020, the kingdom has registered 129,920 cases, with 123,353 recoveries and 3,032 deaths. Xinhua