After working in production for French tour operators for ten years, Clémence Carcanague joined the Easia team in 2015 as the country director for Cambodia. Since then, she has successfully strengthened the on-site team, developed unique signature products alongside the production team, and worked hard to make Easia one of the most competitive DMCs in Cambodia.
With the recent announcement of a reduction in quarantine for vaccinated travellers, along with other positive news, it certainly looks like Cambodia is well on its way to a full reopening of the country. Clémence took the opportunity to answer some questions and explain why travelling to Cambodia in 2022 will be a unique opportunity to visit the Kingdom of Wonders and see it as it has never been seen before!
What was the impact of the covid-19 crisis on Cambodia?
The crisis has strongly affected Cambodia. First of all, we suffered from several waves of the virus, even if the pandemic was less severe in Cambodia than it was in Europe. But above all, the pandemic had a significant impact on the local economy. Tourism is an essential part of this, and many people lost their jobs, especially in Siem Reap. Many establishments have closed, some permanently. It has been a tough time for many, but we have also seen a lot of courage and resilience. Now that restrictions such as lockdowns and curfews have been lifted, we see businesses gradually reopening, and we hope for a period of recovery in 2022.
How did Easia survive the crisis? What have you done during these 18 months without travellers?
Easia has suffered a lot, like every other DMC in the world. We had to cut our expenses drastically to survive, but we never stopped our activities completely. We managed to keep a small, passionate team and work on projects such as our new self-guided tours and thematic SIC tours, like the “Slow Travel SIC”, which we hope will be a trend in a post-Covid way of travelling. We also worked on an internal online training platform to develop our employees’ skills in the future. We have maintained the link with our suppliers and partners and followed up on the contracts. After having prepared ourselves for the country to reopen its borders, we are looking forward to welcoming back your travellers in the best possible conditions!
What do you think travelling to Cambodia in 2022 will be like?
The first thing that will likely be different will be the number of visitors to the temples. Tourism will recover slowly, which will offer a unique opportunity to visit Angkor Wat in the absence of large crowds. Having seen the temples almost deserted over the past 18 months, I can tell you that it is a truly unique experience! Also, after spending such a long time not travelling, I think travellers may wish to spend a bit more time overseas, so I guess the average duration of stay may perhaps be a bit longer than before. We might also see fewer combinations with neighbouring countries, with Cambodia having a chance to redefine itself as a unique stand-alone destination and not just an extension after Vietnam or Laos. Cambodia has so much to offer besides the temples: a lively capital, unique gastronomy, a charming coastline, paradisiacal islands, wild jungle mountains, local life along the Mekong… There is more than enough for 2 or 3 weeks of discovery.
And I can also tell you what will not change in 2022: it’s the kindness of the Cambodian people!