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Angkor Wat being “overrun by tourists” – report


10/19/2010

Published on Oct 19, 2010

Global Heritage Fund urges preservation…

Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple complex is being “overrun by mass tourism”, leading to potentially disastrous consequences for the ancient buildings, a new report has warned. Conservation group Global Heritage Fund (GHF) stated in its report, ‘Saving Our Vanishing Heritage’, that the sheer number of tourists at Angkor was damaging the temples. “Hundreds of thousands of visitors climb over the ruins of Angkor every year causing heavy deterioration of original Khmer stonework,” the report stated.

It said that the number of visitors to Angkor Wat has increased 188% since 2000 to 2.4 million in 2009, and that the complex now generates more than a billion dollars a year in tourism revenues, compared to just US$10-20 million in the 1990s. It warned however, that the temples are also threatened by the rapid development of gateway city, Siem Reap, with the Bayon temple worst affected. “The nearby sprawl of hotels and restaurants is sapping the region’s local aquifer, which has caused the Bayon Temple’s 54 towers to sink into the ground,” the report said. GHF stressed that by 2025, global heritage sites can be a US$100 billion a year industry for developing countries if a worldwide effort is made for their preservation and responsible development. But it added that at present “loss and destruction is the status quo” for many sites in developing countries.

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