Angkor and tourism

How has tourism changed Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples of Angkor and what is the way forward? Maya Hvistendahl of offers an insight and overview.

WorldChanging, 14 January 2008

Making Angkor’s Tourism Sustainable
WorldChanging, 14 January 2008

Hvistendahl paints a good picture, backed up with links to a lot of news stories (a lot of which you can find here as well, about how tourism affects on Angkor), and there’s a special emphasis on Heritage Watch, the NGO that promotes heritage-friendly and sustainable tourism practices.

So what can be done? The Cambodian government is apparently considering restricting access to certain temples. But a holistic approach that addresses the boom in Siem Reap is needed as well. Heritage Watch carries out campaigns to educate locals and tourists alike about looting and promotes sustainable tourism in Siem Reap and beyond. The organization also certifies local businesses as “heritage-friendly” — a designation that indicates clean environmental policies, support for the local economy, and contributions toward preservation.

There’s also an interesting bit of news about the Koh Ker, one-time Angkorian capital being a two hours drive away, thanks to a new road being built. Up until recently, Koh Ker was surrounded by mines and it was dangerous territory to venture into.

Related books:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
Ancient Angkor (River Book Guides) by C. Jaques
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
Angkor: A Tour of the Monuments by T. Zephir and L. Invernizzi

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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