Over 600,000 international tourists purchased tickets to the Angkor Archaeological Park in the first 10 months of 2023, boosting revenue for Angkor Enterprise – a state body tasked with overseeing ticket sales – to nearly $28 million. This represents a staggering increase of over 300% compared to the same period in 2022.

According to its November 1 report, 602,570 foreign tourists visited the park between January and October, resulting in ticket sales totalling $27.88 million. Compared to the same period the previous year, there was a 255.82% increase in visitors and a 312.35% rise in revenue.

The enterprise also amassed $590,948 from ticket sales at Koh Ker archaeological site – another UNESCO World Heritage Site and a capital of the Khmer Empire between 921 and 944 CE, located in neighbouring Preah Vihear province – and Chong Kneas floating village in Siem Reap, with values of $149,010 and $441,938, respectively.

Kong Sambath, vice-president of the Cambodia Chinese Tour Guide Association (CCTGA), said that despite the diminishing concerns around Covid-19, the influx of tourists to Siem Reap’s temples is yet to match pre-2020 numbers.

He is optimistic about future growth, anticipating that the inauguration of the new Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI) and diplomatic visits by Cambodian officials, particularly to China, will bolster tourist numbers.

“As a tour guide, I’m hopeful that these diplomatic interactions, especially with China, will amplify tourist numbers in Cambodia,” he said.

Khieu Thy, president of the Khmer Angkor Tourist Guide Association, noted that despite a steady uptick in visitors to Siem Reap’s temples, the global economic crisis has dampened the rate of growth by affecting potential tourists’ disposable income.

“Although travel restrictions have eased compared to 2020-22, financial constraints have emerged as a new challenge for travellers,” he said.

Nonetheless, he expects a positive shift in Q4, a traditionally busy period for the province.

For reference, Angkor Enterprise reported earnings of $11,783,916 in 2022 from foreign visitor ticket sales, with breakdowns of $11,528,158 from the Angkor Archaeological Park, $90,450 from Koh Ker and $165,308 from Chong Kneas.

The year 2019 saw a record number of tourists, with over 6.6 million arrivals, leading to ticket sales surpassing $80.7 million.

Established in 2016, the enterprise operates under the technical guidance of the tourism ministry and the financial guidance of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Its revenue sources extend beyond the Angkor park, encompassing ticket sales for Koh Ker temple complex and boat tickets at Chong Kneas floating village.

The ticketing structure for the Angkor park comprises three tiers: one-day passes at $37, three-day passes at $62, and seven-day passes at $72.