The Ministry of Tourism believes that recently announced direct flights by Sky Angkor Airlines between Siem Reap province and South Korea will provide convenient travel at reasonable prices.

Ministry spokesperson Top Sopheak said on October 2 that it expected the new service to attract more South Korean tourists to the province.

He added that Korea is one of the Kingdom’s most important tourism markets, and stood at number six of the top 10 sources of international visitors to Cambodia in the first eight months of 2023.

“If we look at Siem Reap province alone, South Korean tourists rank fourth after the US, UK and France. In the past eight months, the number of tourists has grown. If we have direct flights from South Korea, it will be very beneficial and drive this growth further,” he said.

Sky Angkor Airlines announced on its official website that operations will begin from December 28, with direct flights between Siem Reap and Incheon.

It noted that daily flights are scheduled, with “SAI” being the code for the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, slated for inauguration later this month.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy said the number of Korean tourists increased significantly immediately prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The direct flights were good news for all tourist operators in Siem Reap, as the tourism season has arrived.

“The tourist season begins in October, with many guests – especially international ones – arriving to visit various tourist destinations in Cambodia. South Korean arrivals may increase once we have direct flights, so tourism operators should be ready to provide quality services to our guests,” he added.

Thuon Sinan, president of the Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia Chapter, noted that the Kingdom already has direct flights to Korea, but from Phnom Penh International Airport. Cambodia also relies on South Korea for connecting international flights.

He believes that Sky Angkor has resumed flights after the Covid-19 crisis to ease Cambodia’s tourism sector.

“This is something we should all be happy about. We should encourage the airlines. Normally, once there are more flights, tourism will increase accordingly,” he said.

The new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport is scheduled to begin operating on October 16. The existing airport will cease operations the day prior.

According to Sopheak, in the first eight months of this year, more than 110,000 South Korean tourists arrived in Cambodia, an increase of 287 per cent over the same period of 2022. Prior to the pandemic in 2019, around 250,000 South Koreans visited the Kingdom.