Like everyone everywhere, Cambodia’s world has been turned on its head by Covid, and no one is untouched. But that has been especially the case when it comes to Cambodia’s tourism and hospitality industries and all of the people those industries employ, all of whom have been devastated by the pandemic and the resultant catastrophic drop in the number of visitors to the country. But Cambodia’s government has also managed to pull off an extraordinary coup with Phnom Penh being the most vaccinated city in the world, and the rest of the country catching up fast. It is time for us all to start planning for a new, safe reopening of the country to international travel, and all of the opportunities that represents.
Many of the other sectors impacted by the global pandemic are starting to find their feet again. But for hospitality and tourism, that cannot even begin to happen until the nation’s borders are reopened to travellers from selected countries with a high vaccine rate.
Such a reopening will not only promote Cambodia’s image abroad, but also give our country’s economy a much-needed boost. We don’t expect that visitor numbers will skyrocket immediately, but every visitor has the potential to save a business in Cambodia from going under.
It is Thalias’ belief that the necessary groundwork has been done for giving Cambodia’s citizens and residents as much protection as is actively possible. The government’s astounding vaccination success must be allowed to deliver on the promises it contains of safety and security for all, while helping to boost employment and financial security for millions of people who depend on tourism in order to feed their families and educate their children.
This pandemic has put so many lives, plans and futures on hold. But we are all going to have to learn to live with a virus that is now clearly set to become globally endemic, i.e. it will continue to persist, albeit with occasional outbreaks. Cambodia has the capacity to contain those outbreaks and its track record on dealing with the virus so far has surpassed all expectations. There is no reason why this successful approach can not be moved forward from suppression to containment where necessary so that Cambodia’s people can start to live again.