Efforts to control Angkor visits

SIEM REAP, 18 July 2017: Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism and China National Tourism Administration have recently discussed a proposed Comprehensive Tourism Development Plan for the Angkor Wat area.

Agence Kampuchea Presse reported that the Ministry of Tourism wanted to achieve sustainable and inclusive tourism development in response to the annual increase in visitors to Angkor, a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

There are fears that the destination will exceed an acceptable tourism capacity ceiling.

Cambodia Tourism Minister, Thong Khon, was quoted saying the ministry has established a working group to cooperate with Chinese experts in order to transform Siem Reap-Angkor into a “clean and green” area.

The China National Tourism Administration will dispatch Chinese experts to work with Cambodian counterparts to write a plan on achieving sustainable flow of tourists from China that would avoid overcrowding and damage to Angkor Wat.

Ticket sale revenue earned from foreigners visiting Angkor Wat’s archaeological park reached USD52.16, during January to June, this year, up 66.82% when compared with the same period last year.

Foreign visits to the World Heritage site rose 12.92% to 1,233,137 visits during the first six months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In June alone, 140,760 overseas tourists visited the Angkor temple, up 17.99%, generating revenue from entrance ticket sales of over USD6.25 million, up 89.65% over the same period a year earlier.

Most tourists to the park were Chinese, South Koreans and Americans.

The entrance fees to the site are now USD37 for a one-day visit, USD62 for a three-day pass and USD72 for a seven-day pass.

Angkor Historical Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992 and is now the country’s largest cultural tourist destination. It is located in Siem Reap province, some 315 km northwest of capital Phnom Penh.

Last year, Angkor entrance ticket sales generated USD62.5 million representing 2,197,254 foreign tourist visits.