Cambodia earned $55.7 million in revenue from the sale of tickets at Angkor archaeological park in the first half of 2019, a 9 percent decrease compared to the same period last year, according to figures from Angkor Enterprise.
The number of tickets sold at the park saw an 8 percent decrease from January to June, with just over 1,244,000 foreign tourists buying passes, Angkor Enterprises said.
Ngov Sengkak, director of Siem Reap’s tourism department, said new tourism destinations in the country may be driving traffic away from the Unesco-listed temple complex.
“Officials are working to determine the reasons for the decrease in the number of visitors. We want to find out whether it is due to internal or external factors,” Mr Sengkak said. “At the same time, we are working to strengthen the quality of our service to satisfy visitors.”
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the fall in sales may be related to a change in regulation in China’s aviation industry.
“Some companies, particularly from China, have decreased the number of flights to the Kingdom because of changes in regulation there. I think this may be the reason fewer people are visiting Siem Reap,” Ms Sivlin said.
She noted that, by contrast, the number of Chinese tourists in Preah Sihanouk, in the coast, is increasing markedly, adding that the number of flights connecting China to the Cambodian coastal province is on the rise.
Mr Sengkak said China continues to top the list of tourists by nationality in Siem Reap, with about 540,000 Chinese visiting the province in the first half of the year. China is followed by Korea and the US.
A one-day ticket to the park now costs $37, up from $20 previously, while the three-day ticket went from $40 to $60. A week-long pass now costs $72, up from $60.
A $2 donation is included in every ticket sale and is used to provide treatment for Cambodian children in need of medical attention at the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. As of June, a total of $2.4 million have been donated to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital.
Last year, Cambodia received 6.2 million international holidaymakers, up 11 percent. This year, 7 million are expected to visit Cambodia.