August 4, 2011

Interest up at Angkor Wat


INCREASED interest by Asian tourists has led to about 33 percent growth for Angkor Wat ticket sales so far this year, according to the Apsara Authority.

Revenues during the first six months hit US$20 million, compared with about $15 million in the period last year, figures from the authority, which manage the temples, show.

The growth in ticket sales comes as Asian tourists in particular see Cambodia as a stable country to travel to, said Apsara Authority Director General Bun Narith.

“We see a day to day increase in foreign tourists at the temples,” he said. Vietnamese tourists were the largest source of foreigners purchasing tickets and South Koreans were second, he said.

Cambodians do not have to purchase tickets to visit the temples, while foreigners have three options ranging between $20 and $60 depending on the length of visit.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon yesterday said he had noticed an increase of foreign visitors to the temples from year to year.

“We have strong policies to attract international tourists to come here,” he said.

The number of charter flights from Chinese cities such as Nanjing, Kunming and Yunnan were on the increase, bringing a growing number of tourists to Siem Reap, he said.

“In this year, we see the number of tourists from the Asia region increasing, from countries such as Vietnam, South Korea and China, as well as from Europe and the United States,” he said.

Cambodia received a total of 1,385,029 foreign tourists in the first half of the year, up from 1,221,156 tourists in the same period of 2010, according to the statistics from the Ministry of Tourism obtained by The Post last week.

Vietnam has been the largest source of tourists to Cambodia so far this year, with 289,736 visitors in the first half of 2011. South Korea was the second largest source, with 172,568 visitors arriving in the Kingdom, a 19.5 percent increase on the first six months of 2010. China came in third with 133,775 arrivals.

The United States and Japan were the fourth and fifth largest sources for arrivals, with 79,066 and 76,278 arrivals from the two countries respectively in the first six months, according to the Ministry of Tourism statistics.

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