Revenue from ticket sales to foreign tourists visiting Angkor Wat reached $41.4 million in the first nine months of 2013, a 14 per cent year-on-year increase, according to data from the Apsara Authority, which manages the site.
Reflecting a rise in foreign tourist arrivals, the growth rate is a bit smaller compared to previous years, Bun Narith, director general of the Apsara Authority, said.
“The revenue growth is smaller . . . due to the early rain,” he said. “[But] we can’t predict that this amount will be lower for [the whole] year. We hope that it will increase during peak season, with higher tourist arrivals.”
Official data show that almost 1.5 million foreign tourists visited the site in the first nine months, an increase of 13 per cent. Foreign tourists pay $20 to for a one-day ticket, $40 for three days and $60 for a week. Last year the revenue reached roughly $51 million.
In 1999, the government gave the ticketing rights to Sokimex, one of the largest petroleum suppliers in the country owned by tycoon Sok Kong.
Yim Sovann, spokesman of opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, argued that the collected amount is pretty small compared to the number of tourist arrivals.
“If you look at the number of tourists visiting the temple a year – around 2-3 million, we should collect at least $100 million per year,” he said.
“I am wondering why the government does not want to set up a mechanism to properly collect [the money] by themselves? Why let a private company do it?”, he said, adding that the extra money could be put back into development.