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Snow hits Cambodia tourism

Thursday, 30 December 2010 15:00 Soeun Say
Phnom Penh Post 

Photo by: AFP

Snow still covers approaches to New York airport John F Kennedy

THE Kingdom’s tourism industry is suffering
the fallout of the giant snowstorm that blanketed the northeastern
United States, according to government and private sector officials.

The
impact was likely to be extensive, coming in peak tourism season, but
it is difficult as yet to tell how many would-be tourists were forced to
stay home, said Minister of Tourism Thong Khon.

As many as 1.2
million airline customers may have been affected by almost 8,000 flight
cancellations as the storm that hit three days ago closed major airports
in the US.

Passengers were being forced to make new plans, sometimes without being able to reach airlines by phone or online for help.

Thong
Khon said the storm had kept many North American visitors at home, he
added that the Ministry of Tourism was closely observing the issue.

“It has happened too fast to know the impact [at this time],” he said.

Ho
Vandy, co-chairman of the Tourism Working Group, confirmed that
Cambodia has been impacted by the fallout from the American storms –
even though there are no direct flights from the United States.

“We
were still affected because many tourists entered Cambodia on direct
flights from Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore,” he said.

Many tourists had seen their flights cancelled due to the storm, but he could not say how many were affected.

“We will check one by one with travel agents to figure that out,” he said.

Figures
from the Ministry of Tourism released last week show the US as the
fifth largest source of tourists to Cambodia, with 131,458 American
arrivals in the first eleven months of this year.

Earlier this
year, the domestic tourism sector faced fallout from cancelled flights
follow the European ash cloud, Thong Khon said at the time.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BLOOMBERG

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