Revenue from ticket sales to Angkor Archaeological Park dropped more than 10 per cent year-on-year during the first seven months of this year, according to a press release from the Angkor Enterprise on Thursday.
Revenue from ticket sales was more than $62.3 million in the first seven months of this year, down 10.56 per cent from the same period last year, the release said.
Last month’s ticket sales dropped 19.68 per cent from July last year to more than $6.5 million.
It said the number of foreign tourists to the park reached nearly 1.4 million during the period, down 9.67 per cent from the same period last year.
The Angkor Enterprise is a state-run institution that manages tickets sales for international visitors to the historic site.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin said the decline in tourist arrivals to the historic site may be due to strong competition from neighbouring countries.
“There is strong competition with Thailand and Vietnam in the tourism sector. They give discounts on airfare, easily grant visas and some Asean countries even do not charge visa fees to attract tourists,” said Sivlin.
She said visa services at the Kingdom’s land borders are complicated and slow for international tourists, and there is a lack of direct flights to international destinations.
“Customers have complained to us that services are not easy at border checkpoints. Travellers wait a long time, and furthermore, we lack direct flights from Europe and the US,” she said.
Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association president Khieu Thy cited the increase in ticket prices, public order concerns in Siem Reap town and an excessive focus on Chinese tourists as reasons for the decline in foreign tourists.
“Since the price of the ticket increased, most tourists just buy a one-day ticket to the Angkor Park and then go off to other countries. Also, our public order enforcement is limited.
“We have sidewalks, but they are used for selling goods, vehicle parking is disorderly, and the ‘China Ready’ policy are all affecting other foreign tourists,” he said.
Recently, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said zero-dollar tourism – in which tour operators control the entire travel process from flights to hotels and tours – was to blame for the decline in the number of foreign tourists visiting Siem Reap province.
Zero-dollar tour operators are “the destroyers of tourist destinations in Siem Reap province” he said.