Gov’t Doubles Palace Fee for Foreigners

The ministry overseeing the Royal Palace has doubled the en­trance fee for foreign visitors to the royal compound, a move that the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents said July 3 was prohibitively expensive.

As of July 1, the Royal Palace will charge a flat $6.25 for each foreign visitor to the palace, instead of charging $3 per head and an additional $3 for visitors with cameras and $5 for visitors with video cameras, said Chum Sngoeun, secretary of state for the Royal Palace Ministry.

The ticket price hike was made to establish a uniform entrance fee for foreign visitors, Chum Sngoeun said. The $0.25 entrance fee for Cambodian nationals will remain the same, he added.

Ho Vandy, CATA president, said that the new ticket prices were too high and would be a disincentive for visitors to the palace.

“We are worried that tourists will be deterred from Phnom Penh [and go] to other destinations when the ticket fee is high,” he said. Ho Vandy added that CATA would request that the fee be lowered to $4.50 for all foreign visitors.

Chum Sngoeun said the government will not lower fees for foreigners.

“We’re not going to change the fee, the price is already set,” he said. “The business people want to make money, but the state also needs revenue,” he added.

Moeung Sonn, managing director of Eurasie Travel, said that travel costs remained higher in Cam­bo­dia compared to tourist destinations in neighboring countries, and the government should be sensitive to the effect of high ticket prices on visitors.

Chum Sngoeun said that about 8,000 to 10,000 foreign visitors come to the Palace each month and that the Royal Palace grossed about $100,000 per year in ticket sales, one third of which goes to the Ministry of Finance and the remainder to support staff salaries and conservation.

However, based on an entrance fee of just $3 and with Chum Sngoeun’s reported figure of some 8,000 foreign visitors each month, the entrance ticket fees should raise around $288,000 per year for the government.


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