Cambodia and the Maldives have initiated action plans aimed at bolstering tourism, following the introduction of a visa waiver agreement in May. The measures aim to facilitate travel between the two nations and to a third neighbouring country.
The development followed a meeting between Cambodian tourism minister Thong Khon and his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Mausoom on June 16. The exchange occurred on the sidelines of the 35th Joint Meeting of the World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia in Cambodia.
During the meeting, Chuk Chumnor, director-general of Cambodia's tourism ministry, referenced Prime Minister Hun Sen's visit to the Maldives in January, when he signed six agreements, one of which included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on tourism cooperation between the two countries.
“The visa waiver agreement between Cambodia and the Maldives came into force on May 4. This now permits Cambodian and Maldivian travellers to enjoy visa-free stays in the two countries for up to 30 days,” Chumnor explained.
A joint Cambodia-Maldives working group has been established to carry out action plans detailed in the MoU. The working group aims to enhance tourism and ease the flow of tourists between the two countries and a third regional neighbour.
Chumnor highlighted that plans for a joint working group meeting are underway, with a focus on tourism promotion activities. These include official study visits, engagements with the private tourism sector, journalists, and social media influencers from both countries.
The two nations have also proposed a ‘two countries, one destination’ joint tour package.
Chumnor emphasised that "the initiative is designed to encourage international tourism and entice visitors to extend their stay or split their visit between Cambodia for three days and the Maldives for another three."
The agreement also included plans to link direct flights between Cambodia and the Maldives to streamline visitor travel. At present, travellers can transit via Singapore or Malaysia without extensive waits or complications.
In an extension of the growing partnership, Mausoom invited Khon to visit the Maldives in July, saying that he believes the trip will provide further opportunities for strengthening tourism ties and fostering collaboration.
Mausoom noted that the Maldives Cultural Festival, due to take place from late July to August, presents an excellent opportunity for the Cambodian delegation to explore the country.