Temple Ticket Sales Up, But Tourist Revenue Down in 2003

Angkor temple ticket sales increased just

2 percent in 2003, while revenue earned from visa fees and the tourism industry countrywide declined over the past year, tourism and economic authorities said Monday.

Ticket sales pulled in $9.4 million last year, just over the $9.1 million earned in 2002, said Bun Narith, director general for Apsara Authority, the park’s private manager.

Apsara reported that 321,557 foreign tourists purchased tickets to the temples in 2003. The year before, 315,697 foreigners visited Angkor.

Sok Kong, president of the Sokimex company, whose Sokha Hotel sells the tickets, blamed the modest increase on global crises like severe acute respiratory syndrome and the war in Iraq.

Apsara Authority receives 10 percent of the $9.4 million. Of the remaining sum, the government earns 75 percent, while Sokha Hotel claims 25 percent.

In addition to international crises, national events also bruised Cambodia’s tourism-related earnings last year, according to the Cambodia Development Research Institute.

2003 was officially designated “Visit Cam­bodia Year.”

CDRI’s December report indicates that SARS, the Jan 29 anti-Thai riots and the July 27 national elections seriously impacted tourism last year.

In the second quarter, the amount of foreign tourists dropped 51 percent lower than the number of visitors recorded in the first quarter.

Compared to the second quarter of 2002, the number of tourists to Cambodia dropped by 37 percent last year, CDRI reported.

In the 2003 second quarter, 59,600 foreign passengers arrived by air—41 percent lower than the number of arrivals in the same period in 2002.

Revenue earned from the entire tourism industry and visa fees also decreased in 2003, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s annual review.

In the second quarter of 2003, tourism revenues dropped 7.4 percent, while visa revenues dropped 37.3 percent, compared to the same period in 2002. Approximately 83,000 tourists paid for visas in 2003’s second quarter.

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