The pilot program follows in the wake of similar schemes rolled out by neighboring Thailand and Malaysia.
Cambodia is gearing up to reboot its tourism industry after attaining one of the highest vaccination rates in Southeast Asia. From the end of next month, fully vaccinated travelers will enjoy quarantine-free access to a handful of beach destinations beside the Gulf of Thailand, namely Sihanoukville and the nearby island of Koh Rong, as well as the Chinese-built resort zone of Dara Sakor in Koh Kong province. The city of Siem Reap and its namesake province will follow in January 2022, paving the way for the return of foreign visitors to the UNESCO-listed temples of Angkor.
After going through pre-departure testing, overseas tourists will need to present proof of vaccination and take a rapid test upon arrival. Another requirement is health insurance covering medical treatment in case of a Covid-19 diagnosis. Travelers must then spend at least five days in the designated areas; they will be permitted to explore other parts of the country only after receiving a negative result from a final swab test. Authorities have not yet released details on which vaccines will be approved or whether the pilot program accepts fully inoculated travelers coming in from any country or only those from selected low-risk places.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that the timing of each reopening phase will be determined by the vaccination rate in each area, the number of coronavirus patients with moderate and severe symptoms, and the Covid-19 mortality figures. Should the scheme prove a success, more destinations will be added, and quarantine restrictions will be lifted wholesale when the pandemic situation is deemed to be “under control.”