Cambodia is gearing up to launch the country’s first premium seaplane service, piquing hopes it will lure more luxury travellers to its shores.
The Royal Group of Cambodia and Seaplane Asia recently signed an agreement to launch seaplane operations in the Kingdom. Named Samra Seaplane, the venture aims to enhance air access and interconnectivity for residents, businesses and visitors.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Seaplane Asia CEO, Dennis Keller, said: “Cambodia possesses tremendous potential for amphibious seaplane operations, given its extraordinary natural beauty and growing economy, as well as tourism industry.
“Together, we will write a new chapter in the Cambodian aviation and transportation sectors and unlock unparalleled travel and lifestyle opportunities, while tourism is at the heart of the business model.”
Richard Casswell, managing director of Kouprey Adventures, said as long as the rates are competitive, the development of Samra seaplane will be a welcome addition for high-spending guests.
“It will be especially interesting for those guests wishing to fly to the islands, such as Song Saa Private Island and Royal Sands (on Koh Rong),” he noted, adding that he is hopeful Samra Seaplanes will offer private scenic excursions across Cambodia.
“Ultimately it cannot hurt in lifting the image of Cambodia when it comes to luxury options travellers may be looking for when considering Cambodia as a destination for their next holiday,” Casswell added.
Steve Lidgey, general manager at Travel Asia a la Carte, believes a small volume of luxury travellers, especially Cambodians, will “seize the opportunity” to fly by seaplane to destinations, especially the islands.
“It’s a unique way to travel in Cambodia, and it might be of interest to international travellers if scheduled flights or helicopters are not available,” he said, adding that, if feasible, being able to land at exclusive remote resorts, such as on the river at Canvas & Orchids Retreat in Tatai, would be “very attractive”.
The service is slated to start late-2023 to early-2024 and will initially operate from Phnom Penh to locations within 1.5-hour flying time. This includes Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong island, Song Saa Private Island and Kep.