16 September 2006 (Xinhua) – Another report on the unsustainability of Angkor because of its sharply rising tourist numbers; one million visitors a year is painful to the environment – but the projected tourist numbers is two million! The boost in tourism has also seen a spike in population numbers in Siem Reap from people seeking to cash in on the tourist boom, further adding strain to the environment. But tourism is an important part of the Cambodian economy.
The ancient Angkorian ruins face the danger of destruction as in the past years millions of visitors and job seekers rushed into Siem Reap, where the temples and the infrastructure were just unable to accommodate their overflowing admiration and aspiration, the Cambodian Daily reported here on Saturday.
“We don’t have enough infrastructure to welcome mass tourism. We are not ready. If one million come a year, the environment will be destroyed very quickly,” the paper quoted Tep Vattho as saying. She headed the development department of the Apsara Authority, which was entrusted by the government to manage the Angkor Archeological Park.
Tourism is Cambodia’s second largest foreign currency generator and Angkor contributes the lion’s share of the income.