Expats to be Exempted from Fees in Angkor?

The almost 100% hike in fees for tourists visiting from February 2017 for Angkor Wat Archaeological Park is facing protests from the professionals. Early this month, State-run Angkor Institution – the authority now in charge of managing Angkor temples- announced that foreigners will pay from that date US$37 for the one-day pass instead of US$20. The price for a three-day price will go up from US$40 to US$62, while a week-long pass will go from US$60 to US$72. Thee one-day pass is the most sold ticket at Angkor Wat, representing some 60% of all collected entrance fees. The new price would make Angkor Wat 15% more expensive than a combined Borobudur and Prambanan Temples visit in Central Java (US$32) while Ayutthaya Historical Park charges THB50 (US$1.50) per temple visit. The Historical Park has six different temples.

Angkor Wat attracted 1.1 million visitors during the first half of 2016, up by 0.7% who spent US$31.27 million (up by 1.7%). However, the fee hike might have a negative impact on visitors numbers. Talking to the Phnom Penh Post,Ho Vandy, secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance, complaint that the Angkor Institution has not provided any adequate explanation over the sharp price increase to tourism professionals. His concern was shared by Luu Meng, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Working Group on Tourism, said that the government should provide a solid justification for doing so, as well as an action plan about services’ improvements for travellers.

“When price goes up like this it affects visitors’ feelings, so we need to show them the quality products and services that they will receive from the increased price,” he said to the newspaper. The co-chairman also suggested that some 500 expats living and working in the tourism sector in Siem Reap could be spared to pay the entrance fee to Angkor Wat. Luu Meng indicated to submit a request to Cambodia’s tourism minister.

He explained that these foreign expats would be more likely to escort more often and even lure travellers to go to Angkor Wat. Meng told the Phnom Penh Post that expats make ideal ambassadors to their visiting compatriots. Currently only expats working on restoration projects at Angkor Wat enjoy free entrance to the World Heritage site.