Phnom Penh (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Government offers incentives to airline companies willing to serve direct flights connecting cities in Cambodia and Indonesia to attract more foreign tourists to the two ASEAN member countries, a top government official stated.

"We continue to attempt to begin direct flights by collaborating with airline companies," Masruroh, Indonesian Ministry of Tourism`s deputy assistant for marketing development Region I, noted on the sidelines of the Cambodian Travel Mart here on Friday evening.

For airline companies keen on providing direct flights, the government will also offer cash incentives and joint promotions, she remarked, adding that the absence of direct flights had hindered the flow of foreign tourists from Cambodia to Indonesia.

Direct flights could be in the form of regular services and charter flights, Masruroh revealed.

The total number of Cambodians traveling to Indonesia increased, from five thousand in 2016 to six thousand in 2017, while 49 thousand Indonesians had visited Cambodia in 2017. The number increased some 10 percent as compared to 48 thousand people in 2016, she stated.

Cambodian holidaymakers are yet to receive special attention despite the fact that the people of Indonesia and Cambodia share several similarities, in terms of their cultural roots and legacies. In terms of temples, for instance, Indonesia also has several bigger temples than those in Cambodia, she stated.

By taking into account this factual reality, if Indonesia is keen to work harder, it will be able to lure more Cambodian tourists to the archipelago, as it has a lot more tourist destinations than temples that can be offered to Cambodians, she stated.

In response to the unavailability of direct flights, Masruroh noted that Indonesia was contemplating on the possibility of making Singapore a hub, as the city state had received several Cambodian tourists.

"Hence, how to attract Cambodian tourists in Singapore to visit Indonesia? What Indonesia could do is offer several affordable tourist destinations, including the islands of Batam and Bintan, to Cambodian tourists while staying in Singapore," she remarked.

In fact, a small number of Cambodian travelers had visited Bintan and also Jakarta from Singapore owing to the two countries` direct flights and ferry services, Masruroh stated.

In addition to the cultural and religious similarities, Cambodian tourists are fond of shopping, including purchasing traditional items, including souvenirs. For catering to this need, Indonesia has several shopping malls that could be offered to them.

"Another potential but challenging market is selfie tourism, as many Cambodian millennial travelers love taking selfies," she added.

Reporting by Agus Salim
Editing by Rahmad Nasution

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Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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