The Phnom Penh Post
Written by Peter Olszewski
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
After much deliberation, the Apsara Authority has chosen July 1 to launch a new ticketing structure designed to keep tourists longer.
LONG-AWAITED changes to the Apsara Authority's rigid Angkor temple ticketing structure are to become official on July 1, according to a letter sent by the authority to organisations, including the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents.
The new ticketing will allow US$40 passes to be valid for a week instead of a three-day period, while $60 tickets, once weeklong, will be valid for use over a month.
The letter, signed by Apsara Director General Bun Narith, said the changes have been introduced to "reduce the influence of the world economic problem" and to get tourists to stay longer.
Tourism groups have intensely lobbied for a change to the ticket structure, saying giving tourists an incentive to extend their stay in the Kingdom would be a significant economic enhancement and stimulus to the tourism sector.
Minister of Tourism Thong Khon announced in March that he had agreed to a proposal by the private Tourism Working Group to extend Angkor temple tickets in a bid to attract more tourists.
He said he had made the decision following a recent meeting with the Apsara Authority, adding that the ministry had been thinking about the idea for some time.
He also said that the new system would begin "next week". But Bun Narith told the Post at the time of the meeting that he had not heard of the decision and that anything more than a one-month visit would be "hard to manage".
Tourism operators and travel organisations have welcomed the recent progress.
"From a hotelier's perspective, it's a great initiative and allows us to actively promote to guests to get them to stay longer," Nick Downing, general manager of Siem Reap's Hotel de la Paix, and one of the original lobbyists to change the ticketing structure, said.
"The greater flexibility also encourages guests to travel to other parts of the country."