via Phnom Penh Post, 02 Jan 2019 and other sources: The latest tourist figures to the Angkor Archaeological Park for 2018. The 2.6 million figure counts ticket sales for international tourists, and may not necessarily reflect true visitor numbers since Cambodians enjoy access for free.
The Angkor Archaeological Park welcomed nearly 2.6 million international visitors last year, generating more than $100 million in revenue, a statement from the state-run Angkor Enterprise released on Tuesday said.
The park saw a 5.45 per cent rise in visitors to 2.59 million from last year, while revenue from ticket sales jumped eight per cent, generating $116.64 million.
However, revenue declined 1.59 per cent to around $12.11 million in December even though the number of visitors to the Kingdom’s iconic tourist site increased 0.16 per cent to 267,647.
Angkor Archaeological Park continues to generate the bulk of tourism revenue for the country from its ticket sales, despite a hike in admission fee last year, as foreigners marvel at the iconic temple.
Local authorities managing the temple complex forecast the figures could touch $117 million by year end, with about 2.6 million foreigners visiting the Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap.
The temple complex remains the top tourist dollar earner compared to two other famous world heritage sites – Preah Vihear Temple located in Preah Vihear province and the Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site in Kampong Thom province.
“There was a seven per cent growth in tourist arrivals this year and visitors from 193 countries visited the temple and 43 per cent of the total tourists are from China.
via The Diplomat, 13 Dec 2018: France recently returned artefacts to Benin. Why not Cambodia?
The debate as to whether international museums and governments should return cultural artifacts acquired during the colonial period is not a new one. However, it has now been re-energized by French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision that France will return 26 cultural artifacts to Benin. The announcement follows the release of a presidential-commissioned report by French art historian Bénédicte Savoy and Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr, calling for thousands of African cultural artifacts taken during the colonial period to be returned to their respective countries, if requested. Although the report is only limited to Africa, as a former French colony, Cambodia should demand the repatriations of its cultural artifacts as well.
The report could have far-reaching repercussions for international museum housing cultural artifacts taken during the colonial period, and for the colonialized countries wanting their cultural heritage back. With around 90 to 95 percent of Africa’s cultural heritage outside the continent in major museums, the report seeks to rebalance the access former colonized countries have to their own cultural heritage. The report recommends the restitution of “any objects taken by force or presumed to be acquired through inequitable conditions” by the army, scientific explorers, or colonial administrators from the late 19th century until 1960.
Like Benin, Cambodia was also a part of the French Colonial Empire, having joined as a French protectorate in 1863 under the reign of King Norodom. Until the 15th century, Cambodia was a strong regional power; however, by the late 18th century it faced extinction as a sovereign state threatened by both Siam (modern Thailand) and Vietnam. Although the protectorate status ensured Cambodia’s territorial integrity remained intact against its neighbors, France largely controlled Cambodia’s internal and external affairs as a result. Cambodia was designated as a colonie d’exploitation (colony of economic exploitation).
via Khmer Times, 05 December 2018: Cambodian Prime Minister speaking about recent evictions and demolishing of buildings in the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. via Khmer Times, 20181205
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday defended the government’s stance on the eviction of people illegally living in heritage sites.
The statement was made during the 25th anniversary of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Heritage Site of Angkor in Siem Reap province.
Mr Hun Sen said the government’s stance on heritage site encroachment is often taken advantage of by political parties who accuse it of violating human rights.
“Political parties always use land protestors when there’s an upcoming election,” Mr Hun Sen said. “If we allow people to encroach on land located in heritage sites, our temples will lose quality and will no longer be world heritage sites.”
via Phnom Penh Post, 05 December 2018: Last week the International Coordinating Committee for Safeguarding Angkor, which meets twice a year, celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) kicked off its two-day plenary sessions in Siem Reap on Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of its formation and its 31st technical session.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who attended the opening session, said preserving cultural heritage should not be mixed with politics.
The high-level commemoration was also attended by Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay, who was visiting Cambodia for the first time, and diplomats from Japan and France. King Norodom Sihamoni was scheduled to close the session.
Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona opened the session saying: “Now, Angkor World Heritage doesn’t face insecurity, temple collapses, or looting of antiquities.
via Khmer Times, 30 Nov 2018: I’m in Siem Reap this week for the ICC, so hopefully I’ll get to visit the exhibition and post some pictures later this week.
Source: Khmer Times 20181130
The Apsara Authority, responsible for the research, protection and conservation of cultural heritage sites around Angkor have organized an exhibition of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) to commemorate its 25 year anniversary.
The ICC-Angkor was established in 1993, one after Angkor was inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and the commemorative expo aims to make the general public more aware of the ICC-Angkor’s existence, activities and achievements.
The exhibition will last 15 days, from Nov. 28 to Dec.12, 2018, in the garden of the Grand Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap; and according to Sum Map, director general of the Apsara Authority, will be visited by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Dec. 4, and by King Sihamoni on Dec. 5.
via Asean Post, 29 November 2018: Walking through Angkor today, I did notice more than a few tourists being guided by apps rather than books or human guides.
Source: ASEAN Post, 20181129
Developed by local company Angkor Audio, the device enables foreign tourists the luxury of wandering the ancient site at their own leisure without being harried and rushed along by local guides. This has raised concerns among tour guides about their livelihood.
The devices may be rented by tourists or travel agents for US$2.99 for the first month of use. There are 30,000 sets of these devices currently undergoing tests. Ironically, Angkor Audio also rents out group tour systems, a portable broadcast system that lets tour guides communicate with their guests over wireless headsets. Like the group tour systems, the Angkor App is an extension of its conference equipment rental business.
Angkor Audio operation manager, Ny Nou Ros said the app actually complements the industry. Tourist groups and some individuals prefer human tour guides, while “a few thousand more” prefer to be on their own. “We are offering them an option,” he said.
Electronic audio guides are not new to the tourism industry or even Cambodia. They existed for many years without affecting local tour guides as most of them are employed by travel agencies for group tours, Ros said.
Readers may be interested in Asger Mollerup’s new book on Khmer sites in Northeast Thailand.
This book is the 2nd of three about Ancient Khmer sites outside the present day Cambodia and the first comprehensive inventory of ancient Khmer sites in eastern Thailand since the now more than one century-old works of Étienne Aymonier, Étienne Lunet de Lajonquière, and Major Erik Seidenfaden, describing some 170 Khmer sites in the provinces of Khorat and Buriram in the first two parts of the book.
Part 3 presents the ancient overland route from Angkor to Phimai marked by seventeen fire-shelters (‘dharmasala’), mentioned in a 12th century inscription. Also fire-shrines and fire-offerings are described.
The Apsara Authority has formed a committee tasked with relocating vendors and parking spaces around Preah Pithu temple in order to restore public order in the area.
The Apsara Authority on Friday held a meeting over the matter and formed the committee while discussing a solution to a growing number of vendors and visitors at the temple in Angkor Thom, northeast of the Bayon temple in front of Tep Pranam.
Sok Sangvar, deputy director-general of the Apsara Authority, yesterday said that a growing number of vendors and visitors, who park archaically, have led to public disorder around the temple.