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More fails over passes

Dave Perkes in heated debate with Information Supervisor, Kisaean.

there is no scam –ineptitude prevails

MORE complaints have emerged about the new Angkor temples ticketing system, flagged last week by Temple Watch writer Dave Perkes.

Digital wisdom emerging on the blogosphere is that the sale of “old” passes is part of a scam. But investigations by 7Days reveal there is no scam – instead good old ineptitude prevails. The changeover to a new ticketing system should have been a simple process, but instead it’s a bog hole of inane complexity.

Last week Temple Watch reported: “Staff at the ticket office are still issuing the old style tickets that are only valid for three days in a row.”

Following this report, Canadian traveler David Packer told 7Days that his guide had inadvertently bought him a temple pass for three consecutive days.

He wanted the three-day pass which can be used over one week, and when he realised he had the wrong ticket, he tried to exchange it, but to no avail.

He said, “There was no flexibility. The advice I was given was to email authorities and complain. Then a supervisor at the ticket office called a police chief who happened to be nearby.

“The policeman demanded the name of the guide who had originally purchased the ticket for me and he said he would revoke the guide’s licence forever.

“But I refused to give the guide’s name because it wasn’t his fault and I didn’t want him to lose his job. So I ended up stuck with the ticket.”

On April 8 this year, the Ministry of Tourism officially sanctioned a new temple pass system, stating on its website: “From now on, visitors will have a week to use their three-day pass, and a month to use their 7-day pass, so they can alternate their temple visits with the discovery of other places of interest.”

Industry stakeholders presumed that the changeover would be simple: that the old three consecutive day passes would be scrapped and replaced with new versions.

But 7Days has learned this is not so. Instead, the Apsara Authority, in implementing the Ministry of Tourism’s change, decided to offer two versions of three-day ticket passes: the old three consecutive days pass has been retained, but also available is the new three-days-valid-over-a-week pass.

Plus, to make life more difficult for tourists, Apsara has deemed that the three consecutive days pass will be easier to use as it only needs to be punched once at the ticket office.

But if tourists buy the seven-day pass they have to return to the ticket booth to have their ticket punched each day they wish to use the pass, which is cumbersome, time consuming, and perceivably punitive.

This tricky situation is not explained to tourists at the ticket booth frontline; it’s a case of caveat emptor, as the Information Supervisor Kisaean attested.

“It is up to the tourist to know which one he wants and tell us. But when tourists come here, most don’t know about this clearly. Then they want to change to seven day pass but I cannot do this,” he said.

“Because when the ticket is printed out on the computer, we cannot change it.

“But not a big problem. Very few people have problems like this. Sometimes no people have this problem. Some days there are one or two or three problems like this.”

Kisaean’s advice is that tourists should get savvy and update themselves before buying tickets by consulting Apsara’s website.

But of course the website has not been updated and carries only sparse information about the old system.



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