Cambodian newspapers and news agencies mentioned at the end of the week that the entrance price to visit Cambodia’s icon, the temples of Angkor Wat, will soon cost more for travellers. Expectations that ticket prices are set to rise for foreign visitors to the Angkor temple complex in Siem Reap province were in fact confirmed last Tuesday when Minister of Finance and Economy Aun Porn Moniroth announced that the price had been approved in principle, but when and how much remains unclear.
Prices will go up in the “near future,” the minister said, without elaborating. A spokesperson at the state agency that manages the World Heritage site – the Apsara Authority – said, however, that plans for a price hike had been in the works for about one year. Business representatives were also unsurprised by the announcement. “It’s time for an increase,” Apsara spokeswoman Choa Sun Kiriya said yesterday, noting that prices had not risen for two decades.
She said her agency, the provincial tourism department and “relevant officials” had been studying raising ticket prices for about a year, and found that it would not deter visitors. Angkor Archaeological Park has seen dramatic improvements in infrastructure and services, Ms. Kiriya said. “If we look at tourism parks in other countries, prices have been increasing every year, so increasing ticket prices for Angkor is reasonable,” she said.
The Minister justified the increase by telling that “in Cambodia, tourists spend only $20 dollar to visit all temples in Angkor Archaeological Park” and noted this price was far lower than those charged to enter tourism parks in “Singapore, Hong Kong, or France.”
Mr. Moniroth was referring to the one-day pass to the park, which costs $20. Three-day and one-week passes go for $40 and $60, respectively.
Ho Vandy, co-chair of a government-private sector working group on tourism, welcomed the plan, saying it would generate more revenue for the government. “If the ticket-price increase is reasonable there will be no problem,” Mr. Vandy said. “The number of tourists is unlikely to fall if we provide satisfying services to them.” However, Mr. Vandy said it would impact tour operators if they were not given advance notice of the rise in ticket prices.
As a token for the travellers, e tickets will be sold online. The new ticketing system is due to be introduced this year to provide faster and convenient service to tourists. The proposed e-ticketing system will allow overseas visitors to upload their identity picture– a requirement to the validity of the ticket – and pick up their personalized tickets before reaching the Angkor Wat site. Payment can be done by credit card, reducing long lines at the entrance of the park.
(Sources: Khmer Times and Phnom Penh Post)