SIEM REAP, 5 May 2017: Ticket sales revenue earned from foreigners visiting Angkor Wat’s archaeological park reached USD39.25 million during January to April, this year, up 60.21% compared with the same period last year.
The surge in revenue was attributed mainly to a 1 February increase in entrance fees, although the head count at the gate has also increases substantially.
Agence Kampuchea Presse quoted figures released by Angkor Enterprise, the state-owned institution in charge of Angkor income management.
The report also claimed the number of foreign visitors to the World Heritage site rose 11.54% to 945,366 in the first four months of this year, compared to the same period last year.
In April alone, 181,220 tourists visited the Angkor temple, up 23.96%, generating revenue from ticket sales of USD8.39 million, up 102.4% compared to a month earlier.
The new entrance fees took effect 1 February. They are: One-day pass USD37, three-day pass USD62, and a seven-day pass USD72.
Last year, Angkor entrance ticket sales generated USD62.5 million representing 2,197,254 foreign tourist visits.
The Angkor Archeological Park is the top tourist attraction in Cambodia, considerably ahead of the coastal resorts in and around Sihanoukville and ecotourism sites in the northeast part of the country.
Angkor Historical Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992 and is now the country’s largest cultural tourist destination. It is located in Siem Reap province, some 315 km northwest of capital Phnom Penh.
Its dominance in tourism worries government officials who would like to see tourism spread further afield to benefit communities across the country. However, Angkor Wat remains the sole must-see attraction for first-time visitors and encouraging travellers to return for a second trip to explore the rest of the country is a major challenge for tourism planners.
More needs to be done to reduce barriers between Thailand and Cambodia such as the land crossing at Preah Vihear, the site of an ancient Hindu temple on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It that stands on a 525-metre cliff in the Dangrek mountains bordering Thailand, but for decades passage has been blocked. Opening this border checkpoint would allow international tourists to tour lower Northeast Thailand and then cross the border to visit Preah Vihear and travel south to Siem Reap.
The two governments pay lip service to the concept of two-way tourism, but fail to put in the infrastructure and make it convenient for travellers to complete interesting tour itineraries and circuits.