Admission into Cambodia’s fabled Angkor Wat nearly doubled in price, in an attempt to offset declining tourist spending in the country.

As of Feb 1, visitors who may not have been aware of the price change were most likely in for a bit of sticker shock, after the price of a one-day pass increased from US$20 (RM88.50) to US$37 (RM164).

Three-day passes to the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province also spiked from US$40 (RM177) to US$62 (RM274), while week-long passes are now US$72 (RM318.50), up from US$60 (RM265.50), reports its local English newspaper The Phnom Penh Post.

First announced last summer, the move follows a similar price hike enacted at another popular tourist destination. Entry fees to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh spiked from US$6.25 (RM28) to US$10 (RM44).

Tickets to the National Museum and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum also rose from US$3 (RM13) to US$5 (RM22).

Officials point out that the price hike for many of the sites is the first imposed in 25 years and long overdue.

The move also comes amid reports of increased tourist visits last year, but lower total revenue.

In a report released last week, tourism officials revealed that total revenue dropped by US$500mil (RM2.22bil) to US$3bil (RM13.37bil) last year, despite a 5% increase in international tourist arrivals. In fact, the country received more than 5 million visitors, crossing that threshold for the first time, points out The Phnom Penh Post.

Industry experts attribute the difference to a growing shift from high-end to budget travellers and the growing number of Chinese tourists travelling on cheaper package deals.

Conversely, the shaky values of the Euro, Canadian loonie and US greenback have also had an effect on visits from tourists from those parts of the world, resulting in less spending, experts said.

Likewise, the proliferation of airline stop-overs in Cambodia have also led to shorter stays. – AFP Relaxnews