Angkor Officials To Require Special Slippers

To protect Angkor Wat from further damage, tourists will now have to buy special slippers to climb the tem­ple’s stairs, the Ap­sa­ra Au­thor­ity, which manages the Ang­kor Ar­ch­aeo­logical Park, an­nounced Sun­day.

“We are preparing this project,” said Tep Henn, Apsara Authority de­­­puty director-general in charge of tourism. “We will let experts do studies of all sides.”

Tep Henn said he did not know when the slipper program will be­gin, how much the slippers will cost vi­sitors or which company will re­ceive the contract to make the slippers.

Bun Narith, the authority’s dir­ec­tor general, confirmed the slipper project on Sunday but said further studies were still necessary.

“We need to study first whether it can be worked out or not,” he said.

Moeung Sonn, director of the Na­­tional Association of Tourism En­­terprises, said that the slippers should be offered free of charge to visitors because entrance tickets to Angkor are already expensive.

“Tourists are not happy with this policy,” said Moeung Sonn, who is also vice-president of the Siem Reap Chamber of Com­merce. “It is good if the government can preserve Angkor from erosion without additional fees.”

Moeung Sonn claimed that a con­tract to make the slippers had al­­­ready been awarded to a company.

Minister of Tourism Lay Prohas said Sunday that he had not heard of the Angkor slipper project.

The special slipper would mark the second proposed fee increase at Angkor in recent months.

The Apsara Authority in May an­­nounced a $3 entrance fee in­crease. The price hike was to take ef­fect June 1 but was rescinded at the last minute due to unspecified “technical difficulties.”

The authority originally said the $3 increase was necessary to co­ver the costs of a “free” guidebook for tourists.

The book has been widely criticized by tourism industry officials as unnecessary, especially be­cause it is written only in Eng­lish and other guides are al­ready widely available.

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