Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourism as usual at Angkor Wat despite steeper fees

Tourism as usual at Angkor Wat despite steeper fees

Tourists visit Angkor Wat.
Tourists visit Angkor Wat. Hong Menea

Tourism as usual at Angkor Wat despite steeper fees

The steep increase in Angkor Wat ticket prices on February 1 did not discourage tourists from visiting the country’s chief tourist draw, as some feared, but it also did not reap any significant material gains for the government coffers, new data shows.

Figures released on Saturday by the Angkor Enterprise, the state-run ticketing agency for Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, showed ticket sales to the World Heritage site near Siem Reap inched up to 701,358 during the first quarter of the year. Meanwhile, revenue rose to $20.3 million, a mere 1.7 percent year-on-year increase despite price hikes that effectively doubled the cost of single-day admission.

Some tourism experts had expressed concern over the government’s decision to sharply increase the entrance price to Angkor Wat, arguing that it could prompt price-conscious foreign travellers to skip visiting the ancient temple complex and the country itself.

On February 1, the government raised the price of one-day “foreign visitor” admission to Angkor Wat to $37, from $20. Meanwhile, it increased the price of a three-day pass to $62, from $40, and a week-long pass to $72, from $60.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Travel Agent Association (CATA), said that she had not seen any marketable change in visitor trends so far.

“We were worried that if we changed our prices too fast, tourists would not go to the temples,” she said yesterday.

However, with only two full months on record since the change, she said it was still too early to tell whether the government had made the right decision, pointing out that discounts on package deals offered by tour agencies might have delayed the impact of the ticket-price hikes.

“Maybe revenue will speed up in the next quarter, because in the beginning the increased fees had made us adjust our tour package pricing,” Sivlin said.

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance, said it appeared as if the much-discussed price hike had yet to have any impact on both visitor rates and profitability.

“The growth of ticket revenue seems like nothing has changed for the sector based on our calculations, however it’s still the low season,” he said.

“Let’s wait and see over the next quarter whether the growth is still the same or not and then we can judge the impact of ticket price increase.”

The Angkor Wat Archaeological Park generated nearly $63.6 million in revenue last year with 2.2 million tickets sold, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to 2015.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,