Cambodia Now:
  • Water and Moon Festival and Boat Racing

    Water and Moon Festival and Boat Racing

  • Metfone
  • Metfone
  • Sand, Sea, Sun and Food

    Sand, Sea, Sun and Food

  • Fly in Style with Special Offer
Our office will be closed 3 days for Water Festival and Boat Racing from 24 to 26 Nov 2015.

The heritage curse

Posted Date: Saturday, 7-Jul-2012

In the 38 years since UNESCO launched its World Heritage programme to help preserve cultural and natural treasures, over 900 sites have earned the distinction.

But some conservation experts say that the uncontrolled tourism development that follows World Heritage designation may do more harm than good for the very sites the programme was meant to protect.
Connect with 101 East

In developing countries like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, sites are left largely to their own devices when it comes to managing the burgeoning number of visitors. Emphasis is placed on increasing tourism to alleviate local poverty.

The protected status of the once royal capital of Laos, Luang Prabang, the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Vietnam’s stunning Halong Bay attracts millions of tourists from across the globe, bringing jobs and cash to the poor countries.

But with uncontrolled development and growing pollution, is heritage status also overwhelming the very sites it is designed to protect?

In Cambodia’s Angkor Archaeological Park, for instance, the rapid rise of popularity has led to a host of problems. The sprawl of hotels is sapping the region’s local aquifer, causing Angkor’s monuments to sink into the ground.

Similarly, in Vietnam’s Halong Bay, which two million tourists visit each year, complaints abound of floating garbage being tossed from the tourist boats that ply the waters. And traditions in the heritage city of Luang Prabang in Laos face being ruined by crowds.

Issues such as unchecked development and pollution have earned 31 sites a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list and many sites lack an adequate tourism management plan - even though having one is a condition of inscription.

Still, World Heritage status affords a certain degree of protection without which many sites would be in much worse shape. How can these ancient places balance economic needs with conservation to save them from being overrun?

Sourced: aljazeera

Read More News: