Of all the restrictions facing international travelers these days due to the coronavirus pandemic, this might be the most stringent.
Cambodia has enacted quite the provision if you wish to visit the southeast Asia country, charging travelers 2,400 euros—$3,000 in U.S. dollars—as a deposit for “COVID-19 service charges” when you arrive the airport.
British newspaper The Independent first reported the story, quoting the Cambodian Foreign Office as saying “If you are not able to submit to these requirements, you should think carefully about whether to travel to Cambodia at this time.”
The deposit, either in cash or charged to a credit card, ostensibly is to safeguard the country from incurring expenses if a visitor contracts the coronavirus.
“Once deductions for services have been made, the remainder of the deposit will be returned,” the Foreign Office said.
But those costs could add up. For starters, it will cost $5 to be transported from the airport to a testing center. The COVID-19 test is $100, the price of an overnight stay at a designated hotel to wait 24 hours for test results is $30, and it’s another $30 for three meals a day.
That’s on the inexpensive end.
If even one passenger on the flight tests positive for the virus, however, everyone on the same flight is quarantined in government-approved lodging for two weeks, at a cost of $1,176 including meals, laundry and “sanitary services”. They must also pay another $100 for a second Covid-19 test. If you are the traveler who tests positive, you will have to take up to four tests at another $100 each, as well as $3,150 for treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
If you’re thinking, ‘that’s more than the deposit,’ you’re right. And that’s why the country is also imposing every tourist travel with $50,000 worth of travel insurance for medical treatment.
It’s led some in the travel industry to suggest that Cambodia imposed the fees “to be designed to filter out their budget tourist end of the market whilst still allowing business people/residents to enter,” Dylan Harris, managing director of the Lupine Travel tour operator, told The Independent. “I can understand the position of the state as it’s a way to avoid having to cover underinsured travelers. However, from our side, we would not be willing to run any trips to countries with this system in place.”
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