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Eurasie Travel to challenge Angkor Wat ticket deal

Eurasie Travel to challenge Angkor Wat ticket deal

For the first time, a company is contesting Sokimex's hold on ticketing rights at

Angkor Archeological Park.

Eurasie Travel, which has operated in the tourism sector for 18 years, recently announced

that it hopes to bid for a contract at the historical site when Sokimex's agreement

with the government expires in August.

Sokimex has held exclusive ticketing rights at the park since 1999.

Moeung Sonn, managing director of Eurasie Travel, said having another company challenge

Sokimex will help promote a free market in Cambodia and encourage transparency in

the government. He added that, if granted rights to Angkor, Eurasie Travel would

help increase state revenues.

"The government should consider [our request] as my company's proposal is parallel

to [the government's] policy," Sonn said.

"I have talked with the Apsara Authority's officials, and they said they had

no choice besides Sokimex as there was no competition from other companies,"

Sonn said.

In a May 10 letter written to Bun Narith, director general of the Apsara Authority,

Eurasie Travel requested the right to put in a bid when Sokimex's contract expires.

Sonn proposed that the company receive a maximum of 10 percent of total revenues

for ticket sales.

Sok Kong, director general of Sokimex, said his company plans to continue holding

ticketing rights at Angkor archeological park, but he has not yet discussed a future

contract with the Apsara Authority.

"I'm not concerned about the competition," he said. "But I'm afraid

[Eurasie Travel] does not have the millions of dollars needed for investment."

But Kong said Sokimex recently cancelled its proposal to invest in ticketing rights

for six northwestern temples because other companies wanted to compete for them.

Narith said he had seen Sonn's letter, but was waiting until an internal meeting

of the Apsara Authority to read it more closely.

When Sokimex's contract expires in August, the Apsara Authority will consider different

offers, but the Council for the Development of Cambodia is responsible for final

approval of a new contract, Narith said.

Narith said Sokimex contributed approximately $1 million per month to the state budget

last year.

Before Sokimex took over ticketing rights, annual revenue reported by the Ministry

of Tourism and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts was around $100,000 to $200,000.

Beginning June 1, ticket prices for foreigners visiting Angkor Park will increase

by $3, with a one-day visit going from $20 to $23, a three-day visit from $40 to

$43 and a week-long visit from $60 to $63.

Sonn criticized the increasing price of tickets and said tourists may reconsider

vacations to the park if prices continue to go up.

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