The Cambodian government has announced this move to encourage expats to travel locally.
Foreigners who have been living in Cambodia for two years and over can now apply for a visitor’s pass which will grant them one free admission to the Angkor Archaeological Park and Koh Ker Temple. This can be availed anytime within the next 12 months of receiving the pass.
Through the initiative, the Government wanted to acknowledge and thank foreign residents for their work in the country which has been helpful for its economy and development. This decision was also made considering that the volume of international visitors hasn’t increased substantially since the country opened up after Covid-19.
The news received a rousing welcome from travel agents in the country who feel that this will help in reviving tourism in the country even though overall ticket sales might decrease. A travel agent was quoted speaking to Khmer Times that although visits would be free, tourists would still be spending on accommodation, food, travel, etc. which would help revitalize the sector.
Apart from foreigners who have lived in Cambodia for two years or longer, there are other categories of foreigners who would qualify to apply for visitor’s passes with no length of residency requirement. These include diplomats, investors living on an investor visa, professionals employed with certain international organizations and technical experts working with ministries or public institutions. Workers in these categories could apply for the visitor pass for their family members living with them as well.
Starting September 9, one could simply fill out this online form and submit it to Angkor Enterprise alongside attached copies of the applicants’ passports, copies of relevant visas and a 4×6 photo of the individual applying for the pass.
It would be interesting to see the Laos government similarly incentivize its long-term foreign residents so that they are also encouraged to travel more within the country.
A German expat who has been living in Laos for six years feels that the government should try and organize cultural festivals, sports events like marathons, which would interest foreign residents. “Traveling across the country should also be more convenient. An online ticketing system for the Laos China Railways would definitely be a big help in this regard,” he adds.
Meanwhile, a French expat who spoke with Laotian Times also echoes the sentiment of being able to travel across the country with ease, “I personally like traveling around Laos for its beautiful landscapes, and I prefer to travel on my motorcycle so good public infrastructure (especially good and safe roads) would incentivize me to travel more.”
“It would be great if expats were afforded a few more rights, such as being able to own a vehicle in our own name,” he added.