Official Calls for Change in Angkor Wat Sales

The government needs to revise its contract for ticket sales at Angkor Wat if it is to properly manage the increasing number of tourists visiting Cambodia, according to the director-general of Apsara Authority, the government agency that controls Cam­bodia tourist sites.

“We should evaluate the situation,” said Vann Molyvann.

Speaking at the International Coordinating Committee meeting on Tuesday, he specifically mentioned the government’s contract with oil giant Sok­imex that allows the company to sell tickets to Angkor Wat. The deal allows the company to keep profits from ticket sales after it paid a one-time $1 million fee to Apsara.

Vann Molyvann said the several-year contract should be re­worked by 2002. The controversial deal has come under little fire since it was approved by the Council of Ministers last year—until last week, when travel agents criticized both Sokimex and Apsara Authority for requiring tourists to provide a photograph when buying their already costly tickets into Angkor Wat.

The temples have been attracting more than 15,000 visitors per month at $20, $40 and $60 per ticket for one-day, three-day and one-week passes.

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, officials also stressed the need to balance this tourism surge against continuing conservation efforts. For instance, the sound vibrations made by proposed helicopter tours over the temple complex could affect the ancient temples, officials said.

(Ad­ditional reporting by Kelly McEvers)



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