REVENUES from Angkor Wat admission fees have shrunk by 20 percent in the first quarter, the Apsara Authority - which runs the temple complex - announced Sunday, citing the knock-on effects of Thai political turmoil.
"Most foreign tourists enter Cambodia through Thailand. So, if Thailand has a problem, we are inevitably affected by their problem," said Bun Narith, director general of the Apsara Authority.
He added that the decrease happened in line with a 22-percent drop in foreign visitors this year up to the end of March. The number of visitors to Angkor Wat continued to drop by 16 percent in April, he added.
"In 2007, more than US$32 million was earned from selling tickets to Angkor Wat, and the amount decreased about 5 percent in 2008," he said.
Sokha Hotels, which belongs to Sok Kong, the owner of Sokimex, has the right to collect ticket income for the government.
According to Bun Narith, 10 percent of the income is spent on tax and the remaining 90 percent is divided following an agreed formula: each party gets 50 percent from the first $3 million in revenues, after which 15 percent is used by the Apsara Authority for conservation and development of the temples, and the rest is divided 80-20 percent between the government and Sokha Hotels respectively.
According to the Apsara Authority, this formula has been followed since the second agreement between the government and Sokha Hotels in 2005.
Svay Sothy, a representative of Sokha Hotels, said his company reviews its contract with the government every five years, and the second contract will end in 2010.
The Apsara Authority's Department of Angkor Tourism Development showed that the number of tourists who visited Angkor Wat had decreased 13 percent in January, 26 percent in February, 26 percent in March, and 16 percent in April compared with last year's figures.