via Malay Mail, 10 July 2018: Gua Tambun is a site that I know very well – I studied it for my MA research a decade ago and have gone back to the site every couple of years. The news article incorrectly calls it the largest site in Southeast Asia, although it is one of the largest sites in the region. From the images in the news story the forest growth has been the heaviest that I’ve seen. The site has always had a problem with maintenance, but most of the rock art itself is well protected because it is out of reach of human hands. If anyone knows how to put me in touch with the relevant authorities, please send me an email – I would be very willing to help with the site’s rehabilitation.
Regulations for the erection of billboards in Bagan are being finalised.
Guidelines for the erection of billboards in the Bagan cultural zone will be drawn up to ensure that they conform to the structure of ancient buildings in the area, said Daw Yu Yu Lin, coordinator with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for Bagan’s tourism development project.
Authorities are considering restricting the number of visitors to Borobudur to 15 at any one time to limit structural damage to the ancient monument.
Govt to Only Allow 15 Visitors at a Time at Borobudur Temple
Jakarta Globe, 30 August 2016
Authorities Indonesia to Limit Visitor Numbers at Borobudur Temple
Indonesia Investments, 31 August 2016
The government plans to limit the number of visitors who will be allowed access to Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, to only 15 at any given time, an official said on Tuesday (30/08).
State-run Antara news agency quoted Nadjamuddin Ramly, the director of heritage and cultural diplomacy at the Ministry of Education and Culture, as saying that there are concerns about the preservation of the ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist temple. He said the Unesco World Heritage Site often receives hundreds of visitors, who all enter the at the same time, which may affect the building’s structural integrity.
He said the government will issue a regulation that limits the number of people allowed to enter at any given time. The figure of 15 is based on research data related to the structural capacity of the building.
Full stories here and here.
Overcrowding at Angkor has become a real problem in recent years, and this story from the Conde Nast traveler highlights some of the tensions between tourism and heritage management at Angkor.
Will Angkor Wat Be the Next Site to Cap Visitor Numbers?
Conde Nast Traveler, 10 March 2016
Still, if Angkor Wat is on your bucket list, there’s no need to panic just yet. Southeast Asia travel specialist Andrea Ross tells us, “They just moved the Angkor Wat entrance gate to an area that can accommodate more tourists entering, so it doesn’t look like they’re planning on limiting numbers anytime soon.” Traditionally, there have been two main gates through which visitors can enter the site, colloquially known as the East and West gates, and the ticket booths were stationed at the much larger, and busier, West gate. However, the booths were recently moved away from this gate in order to cut down on bottlenecking. Ross adds that other solutions, such as making some roads one-way only, could help reduce traffic (the human kind and the vehicle kind). A few measures are already in place. “They have capped visits to the top floor of the Central Angkor Wat Tower to 100 people at a time,” says Ross. “This is to reduce the wear and tear on the top tower.”
Another travel specialist familiar with the area (who also asked to remain anonymous) says that the issue of overcrowding at Angkor Wat is a controversial one in Cambodia: The Tourism Management Plan for Angkor, the official body that oversees the UNESCO site, is considering several plans to limit visitor numbers, while the national Ministry of Tourism is actively courting travelers from China and Korea as part of their plan to increase tourism revenue. He adds that this has created conflict between the two groups, and no one is sure who will win out. The Siem Reap airport is also due for an extensive upgrade and renovation, which hints at a bigger tourism strategy as well.
A government plan to overhaul the management of Borobudur to revitalise the area is met with local support.
Borobudur set for management overhaul
Jakarta Post, 1 Feb 2016
Borobudur Working Group head Priyono concurred, attributing the surge in the number of vendors in the area to the lack of assessment regarding the social and environmental impacts of the Borobudur tourist industry on the more than 75,000 people who live in 20 villages in the environs of the temple.
“We are hoping that the government’s new body will be able to better manage the temple in terms of both preservation and local empowerment,” Priyono said.
Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, is also home to hundreds of ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples, most of them built between the fifth and 14th centuries, at the time of the arrival of the two religions in the country.
Borobudur, located some 40 kilometers northwest of Yogyakarta, is one of the world’s most famous temples, renowned for its gigantic size and sophisticated architecture. Built in the ninth century, the Mahayana Buddhist temple is 1.5 hectares in size and has a volume of 60,000 cubic meters.
Full story here.
The provincial government of Thanh Hoa have unveiled a master plan to manage the Ho Citadel World Heritage Site to help with the preservation and tourist management of the site.
Thanh Hoa launches preservation plan
Viet Nam News, 11 November 2015
The Citadel of Ho Dynasty in the central Thanh Hoa Province will be preserved better following a master plan unveiled by the provincial People’s Committee on Monday.
The master plan aims to preserve and embellish the citadel, which has been recognised as a World Cultural Heritage site, and build special tourism facilities based on the area.
Specifically, the master plan will involve survey and assessment of the situation of the site; study of archeological documents and the management work of tourism activities; and defining the space for preservation and development of the surrounding areas.
Full story here.
At the request of Myanmar’s department of archaeology, Thailand will assist in the development and management of the Pyu Cities World Heritage Site, based on Thailand’s experience with Sukhothai and Ayutthaya.
Archaeologists call for better protection and management of the Gunung Padang megalithic site in Java.