Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Call to lift expat fees to Angkor site

Call to lift expat fees to Angkor site

Asian tourists walk around the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park in June 2014.
Asian tourists walk around the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park in June 2014. Hong Menea

Call to lift expat fees to Angkor site

A tourism industry work group has called for the government to drop entry fees to Angkor Wat Archaeological Park for several hundred expats living in Siem Reap and who work in the tourism sector.

Luu Meng, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Working Group on Tourism, said yesterday the group plans to submit a request to Cambodia’s tourism minister to allow the estimated 500 local tourism-industry expats living in Siem Reap free entry to the World Heritage Site.

He said these individuals, who have already visited Angkor Wat, would be more likely to escort visiting foreign tourists to the archaeological park if they did not have to pay entrance fees.

Meng said removing the financial disincentive for these expat to visit Angkor Wat would result in a greater net gain in ticket sales from paying foreign tourists, who are more likely to spend more time in Siem Reap as a result.

“We will not lose revenue, but instead we will get more revenue by having more foreign tourists stay longer in the province,” he said.

Meng said expats make ideal ambassadors to their visiting compatriots.

“People tend to trust people of the same nationality when they go abroad,” he said. “Expats who work in tourism industry here will be a good channel to approach foreign tourists to stay longer.”

Meng said the working group’s team members have already discussed the proposal unofficially with Tourism Ministry officials. They have suggested that expats be provided to show their work permits at the park gates in order to obtain free entry.

Speaking at a tourism seminar in Phnom Penh yesterday, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said expats working on projects to conserve or restore the temples at Angkor Wat were currently allowed to enter the site for free. However, the ministry has never considered extending the free entrance to expats in the Tourism Ministry.

“If they suggest it to us, we will take it for consideration,” he said. “But I cannot confirm now whether or not we will give the permission.”

Ho Vandy, deputy secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance, said the proposal offered a good opportunity to utilise expats working in the tourism sector in order to encourage tourists to spend more time in Siem Reap. However, he cautioned that steps must be taken to ensure that this does not affect the work of Cambodian tour guides.

“If expats can enter the zone freely and they play role instead of our guides and introduce incorrect information about our temples to foreign tourists, it will have a [negative impact],” he said.

The Angkor Institution, the agency that manages ticketing for Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, announced early this month that it would nearly double the entrance fee that foreigners must pay for one-day visits to the ancient temple complex. Starting February 1, 2017, the cost of the one-day pass will increase to $37, from $20, it said.

Ticket prices will also rise for a three-day pass to $62, from the current $40, while a week-long visit pass – valid over a one-month period – will cost $72, from the current $60.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,