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Cambodia plans phased reopening from November

A floating village off the island of Koh Sdach in Koh Kong - the province will be opening quarantine-free in November.

Cambodia has announced a phased reopening for vaccinated travellers from the end of November.

According to Cambodia’s Tourism Ministry, the programme will begin on November 30 and will mean fully vaccinated international arrivals will be able to skip quarantine if they are staying at least five days in a designated area.

Arrival requirements will mean visitors having proof of full vaccination and taking a rapid results test after landing.

Pre-pandemic, the country welcomed around six million visitors a year which accounted for almost US$5 billion in revenue, with most holidaymakers heading to Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor and seaside destinations. However, in 2020 Cambodia closed its international borders and revenue plunged to just US$1 billion. Currently, tourist visas are on hold and only residents, certain business people and foreigners who work and live in Cambodia are allowed to enter the Kingdom.

The first two designated areas to be included in the reopening programme are the coastal provinces of Sihanoukville and Koh Kong, in the Gulf of Thailand.

Siem Reap, home to the world-famous Angkor temples, will be added in January.

These areas will serve as a litmus test for adding further destinations and it’s anticipated that the entire country will open up once Covid-19 is considered to be under control.

This week, Cambodia recorded the lowest number of daily cases since April. Its total number of infections since the pandemic was declared is 118,000.

In a case of history perhaps repeating itself, Raffles Hotel Le Royal in the capital Phnom Penh reopened its northern wing as an Alternative State Quarantine earlier this year, providing an elegant alternative for inbound travellers to spend their compulsory 14-day quarantine. In the 1970s the luxury ‘grande dame’ hotel was turned temporarily into a Red Cross facility.

The refurbished Raffles Hotel Le Royal is offering quarantine accommodation.

Cambodia has, however, weathered the pandemic relatively well and followed up with a successful vaccine roll-out.

“Cambodia is highly praised for its high vaccination rates which were driven strongly by the government," said Sophie Altimirano, sales and marketing director at Raffles Hotel Le Royal. "Cambodia has gone through phases of restrictions and lockdowns the same as any other country in the world. Currently there’s a restriction on gatherings, an alcohol ban and certain areas of hospitality such as cinemas, karaoke lounges and bars are on pause.”

All rooms and suites at Raffles Hotel Le Royal underwent a refurbishment programme in 2019 as part of a one-year restoration project. The hotel first opened in 1929.

Visitors staying as part of the ASQ package receive private airport transfers, full-board room service dining, 24-hour medical services and PCR tests. More information about the package can be found online.

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