Tourism insiders predict transit visa to boost visitors to Cambodia

The decision, coupled with Beijing’s reopening to inbound and outbound tourism, would help the Kingdom attract more foreign tourists.

Hin Pisei

Hin Pisei

The Phnom Penh Post


The Seaborn Encore cruise liner arrives at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on January 28. SIHANOUKVILLE AUTONOMOUS PORT

March 3, 2023

PHNOM PENH – Tourism industry players are pinning hopes that the D-type or transit visa will materially bring up the numbers of foreign holidaymakers and cruise ships visiting the Kingdom, after three years of Covid-19-induced challenges and constraints.

In an announcement dated February 24, the Ministry of Tourism affirmed that – effective immediately – cruise ship passengers who are visiting Cambodia for a short-period are allowed to apply for a D-type visa.

It noted that the visa is “issued for non-immigrant foreigners who are transit passengers, drivers, staff, employees and active personnel on vehicles, trains, ships or planes and can stay in the Kingdom of Cambodia for five days, in accordance with Sub-Decree No 123”, dated June 10, 2016.

Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan told The Post on March 1 that although the decision will most likely bump up the number of foreign visitors to Cambodia, “I dare not speculate by how much”, since the country has historically “not been a top destination for tourist cruises like Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore”.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin said that the decision, coupled with Beijing’s January 8 reopening to inbound and outbound tourism, would help the Kingdom attract more foreign tourists.

“When countries make it easier for foreign tourists to visit, then numbers will go up,” she claimed.

Tourism ministry data show that Cambodia welcomed nearly 2.277 million international visitors last year, representing a 65.56 per cent slide from 6.611 million in record-breaking 2019 but an 11.59-fold increase over 2021’s 196,495.

Of the total international visitors, the majority had their purpose of visit marked as “holiday”, at 1.767 million or 77.60 per cent, followed by “business” (431,000; 18.93%) and “others” (79,049; 3.47%). Most arrived by land at 1.467 million or 64.44 per cent, which was down 28.42 per cent from 2019, followed by air (791,603; 34.77%; down 82.03%) and waterways (17,866; 0.78%; down 88.61%).

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