Thai Airways has launched a new flight route, connecting Bangkok with Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport in Cambodia. This service, which started from December 1st carrying 150 passengers, is set to serve the growing number of tourists flocking to the Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Previously, the airline solely operated flights between Bangkok and Phnom Penh. However, the Bangkok-Siem Reap route marks a new chapter in the airline's regional operations.
Meeting the Rising Demand
Currently, Thai Airways operates one daily flight to Siem Reap and two daily flights to Phnom Penh. This expansion is a strategic response to the surging demand for direct flights to Siem Reap, as reported by the Pacific Asia Travel Association's Cambodia Chapter. Data from the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism further supports this, showing that over 4.4 million foreign visitors arrived in Cambodia in the first ten months of 2023, a significant increase compared to the previous year. The influx of visitors from neighboring ASEAN countries, particularly Thailand, Vietnam, and China, have played a crucial role in this upward trend.
Post-Pandemic Recovery in Cambodia's Tourism Sector
In 2022, Cambodia's tourism sector began its post-pandemic recovery, attracting nearly 2.28 million international visitors, a substantial leap from the preceding year. The introduction of the Bangkok-Siem Reap route by Thai Airways is poised to add momentum to this recovery, providing tourists with greater accessibility to the historic Angkor Archaeological Park.
Modernizing Infrastructure for Future Growth
The recent opening of the larger Siem Reap Angkor International Airport (SAI) exemplifies the ongoing efforts to modernize infrastructure in anticipation of future tourism growth. By accommodating more flights and larger aircraft, the new airport offers more choices for travelers seeking to explore the ancient kingdom of Cambodia and beyond. Major airport expansion projects are also taking off across Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, in expectation of a boom in air travel in Southeast Asia, primarily fueled by Chinese and Indian tourists.