Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Angkor visitor numbers flat in 2015

Angkor visitor numbers flat in 2015

A tour group makes their way through a section of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap late last year.
A tour group makes their way through a section of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap late last year. Heng Chivoan

Angkor visitor numbers flat in 2015

The number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia’s most popular landmark, the Angkor Wat temples in Siem Reap, grew only slightly to 2.1 million last year, bringing in $60 million in ticket sales, according to the Apsara Authority.

Visitor statistics show that while the month of June saw the largest increase in tourists compared to 2014, the peak season months of December, January and February reported decreases in visitor arrivals.

Apsara Authority spokeswoman Chao Sun Kerya attributed this to people not travelling as much during Christmas time, as well as the terror attacks in Paris in November.

“In December, January and February, visitors were low maybe because it was the holiday season and people preferred to stay at home,” she said.

“Most European didn’t travel much because of the economic problems in Europe and terrorist attacks in France, which might have caused fear among travellers,” she added.

Kerya said that other emerging destinations, such as Myanmar, were attracting more tourists, but was confident that Cambodia will still be able to attract tourists to Angkor Wat.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said that while there was an increase of overall tourists to the Kingdom, from 4.5 million in 2014 to 4.8 million last year, this increase was not reflected in visitor numbers at Angkor Wat.

He said this could be in part attributed this to an increase in Asian tourists, especially Vietnamese and Chinese, who were less likely inclined to visit the temples compared to westerners.

“Most visitors to Angkor Wat are Asian and they will buy only a one-day ticket, whereas Europeans usually buy 2- or 3-day tickets to visit the temples,” he said.

Kim Eang added that health and terror-related issues in 2015 were also to be considered when looking at the figures, as well as other destinations in the region increasing in popularity, such as Vietnam.

“The World economy was not good. While the US dollar appreciated, the euro’s value is down; so European tourists had to spend more to buy tour package because our ticket sales are in dollars,” he said.

The Angkor Archeological Park is one of main attractions in Cambodia, with the government looking to promote the coastal areas of Kep and Sihanoukville, as well as eco-tourism sites in the northeastern part of the country.

In 2014, there were some 2.05 foreign tourists who visited the ancient temples, generating total revenue of $59.3 million.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia