September 5, 2023
PHNOM PENH – The tapering of Covid-19 effects has prompted more people to travel, as reflected in the steady increase of foreign visitors at the Angkor Archaeological Park in the first eight months of 2023.
According to Angkor Enterprise, 498,513 foreign tourists visited the park, which is an increase of 350.9 per cent from the same period in 2022, pushing up ticket revenue by 420 per cent year-on-year to $23.1 million.
State-run Angkor Enterprise, which handles foreign visitor ticket sales, showed fare collection from Angkor Archaeological Park and Koh Ker Temple, and boat tickets at Chong Kneas Port. The ticket sales from boat rides to Chong Kneas Port and Koh Ker amounted to $490,907 in the period.
The ticket price for Angkor Archaeological Park is divided into three categories – one-day ($37 per person), three-day tickets ($62) and seven-day tickets ($72).
Khieu Thy, president of the Angkor Tourist Guide Association, toldThe Post that foreign visitor numbers to the temples in Siem Reap have gradually increased since the end of 2022, with most of them arriving from neighbouring countries or within Asia.
Although the threat of Covid-19 has waned, the economic crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and geopolitical conflicts have put a lot of pressure on the people’s income.
Financial problems have impacted the tourism sector in every country, where visitor numbers are not as strong as it was in 2019.
“Although cross border travel is now less restrictive than it was from 2020 to 2022, finance remains an issue for tourists to travel,” Khieu said.
However, things might change in the coming quarters, like the fourth quarter, which is considered a “high season” for Siem Reap, where temple visits are popular.
He also shared that tour guides in Siem Reap, who gave up the profession during the pandemic, have returned to work.
Meanwhile, Cambodia Chinese Tour Guide Association president Thiem Thuong observed that Siem Reap visitors are mostly from Thailand, Vietnam, China and the US, who arrived by air or land.
Foreign tourist numbers are expected to “grow strongly from next month onwards” with the new Siem Reap Airport scheduled to open in the fourth quarter.
“The tourism sector has contributed a lot to the economy by creating jobs and income for those in Siem Reap,” Thuong said, adding that as a popular tourist destination, locals in Siem Reap would continuously find jobs within the sector.
“We expect more tourists to come to Cambodia, especially to visit the temples in Siem Reap,” he told The Post.
Last year, Angkor Enterprise netted $11.8 million from ticket sales to foreign guests, including $11.5 million from Angkor Archaeological Park, $90,450 from Koh Ker and $165,308 from Chong Kneas Port.