Angkor Archaeological Park continues to generate the bulk of tourism revenue for the country from its ticket sales, despite a hike in admission fee last year, as foreigners marvel at the iconic temple.
Local authorities managing the temple complex forecast the figures could touch $117 million by year-end, with about 2.6 million foreigners visiting the Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap.
The temple complex remains the top tourist dollar earner compared to two other famous world heritage sites – Preah Vihear Temple located in Preah Vihear province and the Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site in Kampong Thom province.
“There was a seven per cent growth in tourist arrivals this year and visitors from 193 countries visited the temple and 43 per cent of the total tourists are from China.
“Foreigners still come to see the temple heritage and during peak periods the place is packed. It is even hard to book hotel rooms,” Angkor Enterprise Executive Director Ly Se told The Post.
In February last year, authorities raised the admission fees for foreign visitors to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage complex to $37 for a single day entry, $62 for a three-day ticket and $72 for a week-long visit. Previously, the fees were $20, $40 and $60 respectively.
While tourist dollars continue to flow, policymakers are working on strategies to woo more foreigners as regional tourism is becoming competitive and neighbouring countries such as Thailand, and emerging Indonesia and the Philippines are aggressively promoting their own tourism products to earn tourism revenue.
Tourist arrivals at the iconic temple showed a sign of dip this year, to about seven per cent growth, compared to 12 per cent growth last year. Until December 20 this year, 2.55 million arrivals were recorded.
“It is very difficult for us to maintain a double-digit growth every year, people are coming to visit the temple and its unlike going shopping in places like Singapore or Malaysia. We need to expect new arrivals and have to build more infrastructure,” he added.
Read the full article at The Phnom Penh Post: https://www.phnompenhpost.com/supplements-special-reports/angkor-wat-major-money-spinner