>New Cambodia National Airline

>Sok An (right) shook hand with Rajawali executive at the signing ceremony later last year.

While Cambodia’s history has been one of highs and lows, it seems that the prospects look good for this South East Asian country with signs of a surge in tourist visitors and prompting the Cambodian government to release news of its plans to re-launch a national carrier to promote air travel and more flights to Cambodia.
The news of a deal with Indonesian giant Rajawali to develop a new Cambodian national carrier has been greeted with surprise given that the government’s early attempt at such a venture collapsed with massive losses in 2000. However, using the strength and experience of massive conglomerate Rajawali, there are genuine hopes that this new airline venture will be a success. Recent figures show that the country had over 2 million visitors in 2006, 60% of whom travelled by air – creating a large base for the national carrier to tap into.
Dubbed the ‘New Thailand’, Cambodia offers the opportunity to experience virgin beaches and undiscovered landscapes to date as yet untainted by tourism development. General tourism numbers in Cambodia are also on the up with a 20% increase reported in 2007 alone. The main hub of the Cambodian tourist sector seems to be Sihanoukville where the natural terrain and beautiful beaches such as Serendipity Bay are attracting large numbers of foreign visitors eager to be one of the first to experience South East Asia’s newest hotspot. While the Cambodian authorities are desperate to develop the country’s tourism economy, they are also acutely aware that there is a need to consider the environment and the long term implications making an investment in a tourist based property development in Cambodia something of a long term venture.
Whilst the development of Cambodia’s tourism sector will move at a slower pace than many investors would hope, the wider impact upon the country’s economy should be rapid. As local economies around the country continue to benefit from the growing numbers of tourists visiting, there will be more money for the population to spend and many are expecting a steady rise in property prices. The policies of the government and controlled growth of the economy are vital not only to the country as a whole, but the property sector in particular.
Property prices at the moment are relatively low, the norm for emerging markets but when compared to other similar regions of the world and there is the potential for long term capital gains and substantial rental income in the medium to longer term. A new national carrier is the first step for Cambodia along the road to tourism success.
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