A total of 298,998 standard tickets for Siem Reap province’s Angkor Archaeological Park were sold to foreign visitors in the first four months of 2023, amounting to $14.031 million, available in one-day, three-day and seven-day passes, Angkor Enterprise reported.

This marks 800.46 per cent and 937.34 per cent year-on-year increases in terms of the quantity and value of tickets sold, but 71.55 per cent and 70.92 per cent decreases from the 1.051 million tickets worth $48.255 million logged in the same time of record-breaking 2018, according to statistics from the state-owned enterprise in charge of Angkor income management.

Last month alone, 62,657 of these tickets were sold for $2.896 million, up 368.81 per cent and up 439.20 per cent in terms of number and value compared to April 2022, but down 67.44 per cent and down 66.32 per cent versus the 192,412 tickets worth $8.599 million registered in April 2018.

The Angkor Enterprise website currently displays the prices of one-day, three-day and seven-day tickets for the main park area – which contains Angkor Wat – as $37, $62 and $72.

The enterprise also reported earnings from ticket sales for the Koh Ker area and Chong Kneas Tourist Port to the tune of $78,270 and $226,722 for the first four months of 2023.

Cambodians do not pay any of these entrance fees.

Angkor Enterprise was established in 2016 as a public administration institution under the technical supervision of the tourism and finance ministries.

Of note, although 2019 saw a whole slew of tourism-related records broken, Angkor ticket sales data by and large fell from the all-time highs of 2018. For reference, in January-April 2019, these were recorded at 973,305 tickets sold for $44.135 million, with April alone accounting for 185,405 tickets and $8.182 million.

Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia Chapter chairman Thourn Sinan commented to The Post on May 15 that international tourists to the Kingdom remain below pre-Covid-19 levels, and that most of them hail from Asia, particularly nearby countries.

At the moment, domestic tourists comprise the bulk of trips within the Kingdom, he noted, drawing attention to the fact that although the aforementioned Angkor figures easily eclipse those from a year ago, they pale in comparison to their pre-Covid equivalents.

The ongoing Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and ASEAN Para Games, which Cambodia is hosting, will serve as an effective promotional vehicle and solidify the Kingdom’s standing as a sought-after tourism destination, Sinan emphasised.

Angkor Tourist Guide Association president Khieu Thy remarked that the majority of people who visit the temples in Siem Reap are either Cambodians or foreign residents, and that the number of international flights into Siem Reap town is still below pre-pandemic levels.

He underscored that with global economic stability and fundamental improvements in major international conflicts, international tourism would experience even more significant growth.

“Although numbers of international visitors to Angkor Archaeological Park have seen remarkable increases compared to the 2020-2022 era, they’re still very low when compared to before 2020. Tourism still needs more time to recover,” Thy said.

According to the tourism ministry, Cambodia welcomed 2.277 million international visitors last year, up 11.59 times from 2021 but down 65.56 per cent from the all-time high of 6.611 million in 2019.

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%).

Thailand emerged as the top source of visitors with 853,376, which was up 82.93 per cent over the corresponding 2019 figure, followed by Vietnam (463,995; down 48.94% from 2019) and mainland China (106,875; down 95.47% from 2019).

Although mainland China had accounted for 35.73 per cent of all international visitors to the Kingdom in 2019, that proportion dropped to a mere 4.69 per cent last year. This decline is mostly attributed to Beijing’s “dynamic zero-Covid” policy.

A visitor in the context of these statistics is a person travelling to the Kingdom, “staying at least overnight and not exceeding a specific period for leisure, recreation, business and other legal tourism purposes; and not relevant to the purpose of permanent residence or any remunerated activities”, as defined by the ministry.