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Cambodia: new airports needed for projected tourist boom

France’s Vinci Airports has long had a connection with Cambodia through concessions at three of the main airports. Now the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has cast doubt on the efficacy of those airports, insisting that new ones need to be built, and one is actually underway.

Hun Sen has stated that Cambodia's existing three international airports are not expected to be able to accommodate traffic demand by 2025, with international passengers forecast to increase from six million to 12 million per annum. The vast majority of visitors are from China and neighbouring countries, with the U.S. providing the largest western contingent (257,000 in 2017, 4.6%).

But the times are changing and now it seems as if it will be Chinese firms, rather than European ones, which will be at the forefront of the drive to improve Cambodia’s aviation infrastructure. In Dec-2016 the government selected China’s Yunnan Investment Holdings Limited as the principal developer of Siem Reap. (The government is required to compensate SCA, Société Concessionnaire de l’Aéroport, for ending its concession prematurely.)

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