via National Geographic, 11 November 2022: The five million number for Angkor is probably pre-pandemic.
Some locales have succeeded in managing overtourism on their own, like Dubrovnik, Croatia, which, under pressure from UNESCO, capped the number of visitors in its historic center.
Then there are Cambodia’s 12th-century temples at Angkor Wat, at one time accessible only to priests. The temples were attracting 22,000 annual visitors when they were inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1992. Today, that number is five million and is expected to double by 2025.
(Angkor Wat, the world’s biggest religious complex, is sacred to two faiths.)
UNESCO has preferred to frame its work at Angkor as “a model for the management of a huge site that attracts millions of visitors and sustains a large local population.” But as the organization has also conceded, mass tourism has threatened the region’s water table, which in turn has imperiled the stability of the temples themselves.