(Xinhua) — Cambodia will waive a hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated foreign tourists who visit designated tourism destinations, starting from the end of November, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said Tuesday.
From Nov. 30, fully vaccinated international tourists, who visit Sihanoukville and Koh Rong island town in the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk, and the Dara Sakor Resort in the coastal province of Koh Kong, will be allowed to stay and visit those safe tourism destinations for five days without a hotel quarantine, he said in a statement.
They will be allowed to leave safe tourism destinations when a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on their fifth day showed that they are negative for COVID-19, he added.
Khon said this policy will be then implemented in Siem Reap province, the home of the famed Angkor Archeological Park, in January 2022.
“Inbound tourists must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their arrival to Cambodia,” he said. “They will be required to undergo a rapid test for COVID-19 upon their arrival at the airport, and if the results are negative, they can travel freely in those safe tourism destinations.”
The minister added that all tourism businesses in those safe tourism zones will be advised to comply with the standard operating procedures and tourism safety rules.
Khon said tourists can apply for tourist visas (T-visas) at a Cambodian embassy or consulate overseas or can apply for e-visas.
When applying for visas, one must show a vaccination card, proof of accommodation in those safe tourism zones, a COVID-19 treatment insurance certificate, an air ticket, a medical certificate certifying a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to arrival in Cambodia, he said.
Tourism is one of the four sectors supporting Cambodia’s economy. Prior to the COVID-19, the kingdom attracted 6.6 million international tourists in 2019, earning gross revenue of 4.92 billion U.S. dollars, which contributed 12.1 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The latest move came after most of the population in the kingdom have been inoculated against COVID-19.
As of Oct. 25, the country had administered at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines to 13.67 million people, or 85.46 percent of its 16-million population, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said.
Of them, 13 million, or 81.3 percent, had been fully vaccinated with both required shots, and 1.72 million, or 10.8 percent, had taken a booster dose, the MoH added.
Cambodia reported 112 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, pushing the national total caseload to 118,000, the MoH said, adding that eight more fatalities had been recorded, bringing the death toll to 2,751.
Last week, the Southeast Asian nation also cut quarantine periods at a hotel for fully vaccinated inbound travelers from 14 days to three days for foreign investors, technical experts, diplomats, and cooperation project managers and coordinators, and to seven days for general inbound passengers.
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the new quarantine policy boded well for the hard-hit tourism industry.
“It’s a good sign for our tourism because a shorter quarantine period will encourage investors, business people and tourists to come to Cambodia,” she told Xinhua. “With this new quarantine policy, we hope our tourism will start to recover gradually.”