The Independent’s article rounds up the recent furore over the installation of lights at Angkor. The move may serve to boost falling tourism numbers, but does nothing to address what heritage specialists have been saying for years – that the effects of increased traffic to Angkor is ultimately bad for business.
Following this week’s furore over the light fixtures at Angkor Wat, the Cambodian govenrment has sued the president of the Khmer Civilisation Foundation for spreading false information about the nature of the fixtures. The government and the custodian Apsara Authority maintain that the lights were installed into existing nooks and no drilling was done.
Cambodian officials have denied that holes were drilled into the walls of Angkor Wat for the installation of light fixtures, which will allow visitors into Angkor until 8.30 at night. The lights are also said to be solar powered, rather than tapping onto the existing electricity grid. Can any recent visitors to Angkor confirm this? It’d be interesting to see how the light setup looks like, and how the atmosphere of the ancient temples change at night. This recent push to extend Angkor’s opening hours comes at a time when visitor revenues have dropped 20% in the first quarter of the year. The Apsara Authority blames the political instability in Thailand for the drop in revenue, but I also suspect that it’s the global downturn that’s having a significant role in the depressed tourism numbers.
New lighting for night visits at Angkor Wat ‘will not damage’ site
Earth Times, 3 June 2009
A heritage conservtion specialist has appealed to the Cambodian PM about the recent installation of lights at Angkor Wat, arguing that they are unsightly and will do little to boost the income Angkor generates by allowing night tours. In contrast, the Minister of Tourism and the Apsara Authority have both made the case for increasing income, however they remain “vague” about the fixtures for the lights.
Angkor lights stir controversy
Phnom Penh Post, 28 May 2009