Cambodian tourism sector anger as Vietnam and Thailand partially open for tourists – but Kingdom remains firmly shut

Cambodia’s hospitality industry is up in arms after Vietnam and Thailand partially open for tourists, under strict conditions, but the Kingdom remains firmly shut to such trials despite being more in control of the pandemic.

This comes as news broke that Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island will be open for “fully vaccinated” tourists from the beginning of November for a period of six months as a trial and to boost tourism in the country.

In Thailand, vaccinated visitors will be able to visit five provinces from Oct 1: Bangkok, Chiangmai, Chonburi, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, which will follow the hugely successful “Sandbox” model piloted in Phuket, which has seen a revenue of around $50 million and seen 27,609 tourists from July 1 to Sept 3.

A former hotelier on Koh Rong by the name of Richards said: “Cambodia is already 80 percent vaccinated with two doses. If you can’t open the borders now, when can you? How can Phu Quoc open when Vietnam has only vaccinated about 12 percent of the whole country’s population, assuming they have had two doses?”

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh explained that the rules to enter the country are simple: Visitors will be required to have their second dose of a recognised vaccine at least 14 days prior to travelling to the paradise island, and no more than 12 months previously, along with a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of departing.

The Thailand Sandbox model means that fully vaccinated tourists can visit specific destinations as long as they follow strict rules of staying within a certain area for a period of time (seven to 14 days) and undergoing Covid-19 tests at different times until eventually being able to travel freely.

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