AirAsia Cambodia Proposes Measures to Boost Tourism and Economy by Simplifying Visa Fees

In a detailed report, AirAsia Cambodia outlines potential improvements to Cambodia’s tourism sector, addressing longstanding challenges identified by industry insiders. The report highlights the impact of relaxed visa fees on increasing tourism from ASEAN countries and boosting Cambodia’s economy.

According to the report, introducing a customized visa scheme with relaxed fees for ASEAN residents during peak seasons or offering tiered promotions during off-peak periods could significantly enhance tourist arrivals and, consequently, national income. AirAsia Cambodia suggests adopting a model similar to Europe’s Schengen area, proposing the elimination of the standard $30 visa fee for ASEAN nationals residing outside Cambodia during high-traffic periods. This strategy is projected to increase tourist numbers by 10%, with the anticipation that visa-free travelers might spend an additional $15 daily, a beneficial trade-off for Cambodia’s overall income.

The airline also advises that any potential revenue loss from waiving visa fees could be compensated by tourists’ indirect spending on local food, beverages, and accommodation, with taxes collected by the General Department of Taxation.

AirAsia Cambodia highlights the success of targeted marketing strategies, like those employed by Thailand during peak travel periods such as Chinese New Year, suggesting Cambodia could adopt similar approaches to attract tourists during major festivals.

Despite receiving 5.5 million international tourists last year, Cambodia’s tourism sector still reels from the pandemic’s impact, with numbers trailing behind pre-pandemic figures. AirAsia’s report criticizes the current perception of Cambodia as merely an additional stop rather than a primary destination for travelers, suggesting enhanced marketing and connectivity could shift this narrative.

The soon-to-launch AirAsia Cambodia, a collaboration between AirAsia Aviation Group Limited and Cambodiaโ€™s Sivilai Asia Co Ltd, aims to strengthen domestic and international flight connectivity. The airline believes that improving access to Cambodia, combined with more aggressive marketing, could unveil the country’s hidden gems to a global audience.

The report encourages the Cambodian government to diversify tourism offerings, including music festivals, sports events, and collaborations with artists, to enrich tourists’ experiences and encourage repeat visits.

Discussions between the government and the private sector are ongoing, with positive feedback on the report’s suggestions. AirAsia Cambodia’s CEO, Vissoth Nam, expresses optimism about future government-led tourism campaigns and the reboot of the Cambodia Tourism Board, anticipating initiatives that will invigorate the tourism sector.

The report’s findings resonate with industry stakeholders, who agree that Cambodia needs more direct flights, improved infrastructure, and creative tourism products to compete as a standalone destination. Comparisons with neighboring countries highlight the need for more enticing incentives, such as free visas, to attract a larger share of international tourists.

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.