By Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit
PHNOM PENH, 3 December 2012: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen expects the country to attract more Japanese tourists and investors to help improve the country tourism and economy.
The PM said last week he was encouraging more Japanese investors and tourists by heightening bilateral ties.
“Japan and Cambodia are known for having strong diplomatic ties, however, relationships in trade, investments, and tourism are still minor.”
The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) reports that bilateral trade between the two countries was worth US$297 million for the first six months of this year, a 21% increase over the same period in 2011.
However, from 1994 to July of 2012, Cambodia has only received US$259 million in Japanese investment.
Tourism has improved with 130,410 Japanese visitors in the first nine months of 2012, an 11% increase over the same period last year.
The biggest concern is the lack of direct flights from Tokyo and Osaka. Japanese tourists need to fly to either Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City to connect with services to Phnom Penh.
The Cambodian PM hinted he was ready to negotiate on special arrangements to encourage Japanese airlines to serve the route either with charters or scheduled flights. There is also a possibility that Cambodia’s national airline will figure in future talks.