Cambodia delay museum fee hike

PHNOM PENH, 20 March 2017: Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance has agreed to delay scheduled entry fee increases at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the National Museum until July.

Phnom Penh Post reported that a letter issued late last month and obtained last Tuesday, indicated the ministry had agreed to postpone the increases – from USD5 to USD10 at the National Museum and USD3 to USD5 at Tuol Sleng – which were originally slated for last January.

The decision to delay the price increase came after the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents wrote a letter to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts underlining their inability to absorb the extra charges in such a short period of time, it said.

Prices on tours contracted with overseas partners are set months in advance and any increases after the contract has been signed would have to be absorbed by the local agent until a new contract is negotiated.

The culture ministry’s administration and finance director, Long Pinna Serivath, was quoted saying: “Officials discussed it with the Ministry of Finance and we delayed the ticket price increase… [giving] them six months to prepare.”

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a museum in Phnom Penh chronicling the Cambodian genocide.

The site was a former high school, which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng means “Hill of the Poisonous Trees” or “Strychnine Hill”.

Tuol Sleng was one of at least 150 execution centres in the country, and about 30,000 prisoners were tortured, interrogated and killed there.

The National Museum in Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s largest museum of cultural history and is the country’s leading historical and archaeological museum.

The museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. Its collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand, across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam.

The museum buildings, inspired by Khmer temple architecture, were constructed between 1917 and 1924, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1920, and it was renovated in 1968.