Cambodia on January 25 requested Thailand’s flag carrier Thai Airways International Pcl to stock Cambodian premium products on planes operated by its wholly owned subsidiary Thai Smile Airways Co Ltd.
The regional full-service airline is scheduled to launch daily flights early in July to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and do its part to help promote local products to international tourists.
The proposal was made by Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn at a meeting with a delegation from Thai Smile led by acting chief commercial officer Viset Sontichai held at the embassy.
At the meeting, Sorphorn touted his embassy’s efforts to implement a model of economic diplomacy that centres on trade, culture and tourism, while briefing the delegation of the Covid-19 scenario in Cambodia – and its zero-fatality track record, he told The Phnom Penh Post.
He said: “We have not yet agreed on anything, but the company has accepted to bring our request to discuss with its management. This is part of our efforts to implement our diplomatic economic agenda and promote our domestic products and ensure that Thai investors have direct contact with our local partners.”
Keo Mom, the CEO of LY LY Food Industry Co Ltd, one of Cambodia’s largest food processors, applauded the initiative, saying it will give Thai Airways’ international customers a taste of local wares on their journey.
She said: “Every guest who travels on this airline’s flights will be able to savour our products. To boot, investors travelling via Thai Airways enjoying a few samples will create a splendid opportunity – they’ll get in touch directly if they fall in love with their flavours and recognise their quality.
LY LY Food currently exports its wares to 13 countries – including the US and those in Europe and Africa, according to Mom. She said her company is also expanding its production line for dehydrated vegetable products to boost outbound shipments.
Viset and his colleagues said Thai Airways had accepted Sorphorn’s request and promised to continue working with the Cambodian embassy’s commercial attache to prepare a list of luxury ethnic Khmer products and disseminate the airline’s flight services to businessmen and tourists in both countries, according to a statement from the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh issued following the meeting.
Sorphorn also pointed out that Thai Airways will have a detailed discussion with the attache on the roster of products before placing purchase contracts with Cambodian companies.
From January-October, Cambodia received a total of 1,267,890 international tourists, down 76.1 per cent compared to the first 10 months of 2019, which saw a total of 5,296,088 tourists visit the Kingdom, the Ministry of Tourism reported.