New Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport opens, one of many grand projects in Southeast Asia

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Amid the plethora of airport development going on in Southeast Asia - new airports and terminals - the New Siem Reap-Angkor Airport in Cambodia stands out. Its construction was specifically planned to remove aircraft and their attendant noise away from one of the world's most famous historical structures - the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.

Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism (MoT) announced on 17-Oct-2023 that the New Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (NSRAIA) had begun operations on 16-Oct-2023, with 17 airlines transferring services from Siem Reap Airport to the new airport.

Works to develop the airport started in Mar-2020 and required an estimated investment of over USD1 billion. New Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport is equipped with a 3600m runway; it can initially accommodate up to seven million passengers and 10,000 tonnes of cargo per annum.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic tourist numbers had been rising inexorably: from just over two million foreign visitors in 2009 to 6.6 million in 2019. China accounted for 34% - over a third - of all foreign visitors. In 2021 that shrank to 23.3% and then in 2022 to just 4.7%. Cambodia now needs to attract back these Chinese tourists.

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