A total of 236,341 standard tickets for Siem Reap province’s Angkor Archaeological Park were sold to foreign visitors in the first quarter of 2023 amounting to $11.135 million, available in one-day, three-day and seven-day passes, Angkor Enterprise reported.

This marks 1,091 per cent and 1,265 per cent year-on-year increases in terms of number and value of tickets sold, but 72.47 per cent and 71.92 per cent drops from the 858,580 tickets worth $39.657 million logged in the same time of record-breaking 2018, according to statistics from the state-owned enterprise in charge of Angkor income management.

The Angkor Enterprise website currently displays the prices of one-day, three-day and seven-day tickets for the main park area – which includes Angkor Wat – as $37, $62 and $72. The enterprise also reported revenues from Koh Ker area and Chong Kneas Tourist Port ticket sales to the tune of $65,385 and $180,164.

Cambodians do not pay any of these entrance fees.

Last month alone, 79,390 standard tickets for Angkor park were sold for $3.749 million, up 871 per cent and 1,011 per cent on-year, but down 73.07 per cent and 72.19 per cent from the same time in 2018.

Angkor Tour Guide Association president Khieu Thy affirmed to The Post on April 3 that international tourists to Siem Reap’s Angkor area have been on a steady uptrend, especially since the beginning of 2023.

The increase in domestic and international sightseers has buoyed employment and incomes in the tourism sector, he said, predicting that numbers would soar in the April-May period as Siem Reap hosts the Angkor Sangkran event and Phnom Penh the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games.

“Although numbers of international visitors are not as high as they had been before Covid-19, they are on the rise. If the global economic crisis and major international conflicts end soon, Cambodia expects to be able to receive more tourists,” he said, sharing that the majority of international holidaymakers visiting Siem Reap now are from Asia.

In January, State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha had said that Cambodia’s civil aviation sector had seen a slew of improvements on-year since November 2021, when the government began a push towards the full resumption of socio-economic activities.

He also claimed that observers expect about 4.6 million air passengers on more than 45,000 flights in 2023.

On January 2, six days before Beijing’s reopening to outbound tourism, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that Cambodia would not follow in the footsteps of other countries in imposing further Covid-related restrictions on mainland Chinese arrivals.

Instead, the premier presented Beijing’s move as an opportunity to bring in around “two million” mainland Chinese visitors this year, taking advantage of pent-up and growing travel demand. He argued that greater numbers of Chinese tourists would usher in near-term and longer-term growth for the Cambodian economy.

Of note, according to the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia has only twice tallied more than two million annual mainland Chinese visitors: 2.024 million in 2018 and 2.362 million in 2019 – of which 1.299 million and 1.577 million respectively had their purpose of visit marked as “holiday”.

Last year, Cambodia welcomed nearly 2.277 million international visitors, marking a 65.56 per cent fall from the all-time high of 6.611 million in 2019, but an increase by a factor of 11.59 on 2021, according to the ministry.

Of the total international visitors, the majority had their purpose of visit marked as “holiday”, at 1.767 million or 77.60 per cent, followed by “business” (431,000; 18.93%) and “others” (79,049; 3.47%).

Although mainland China had accounted for a 35.73 per cent share of all international arrivals to the Kingdom in 2019, that proportion fell to just 4.69 per cent last year at 106,875 (28,837 holiday; 77,595 business; 443 others), largely seen as a result of Beijing’s “dynamic zero-Covid” policy.

In 2022, mainland China was the third largest source market after Thailand with 853,376 (819,081 holiday; 32,659 business; 1,636 others) and Vietnam with 463,995 (345,459 holiday; 117,948 business; 588 others), which were respectively up 82.93 per cent and down 48.94 per cent from their corresponding 2019 figures.