Is UNESCO World Heritage recognition a blessing or burden? Evidence from developing Asian countries

via The Conversation, 11 July 2018: a piece by Josephine Caust

With colleague Dr Mariana Vecco, I recently published a research article about these issues. Some of our recommendations for vulnerable sites include:

  • introducing control of visitor numbers as a matter of urgency
  • tighter planning controls on adjacent development
  • querying the use of sites for any tourist activities
  • auditing sites for damage already incurred.

All of this should occur if UNESCO status is to be continued. However, there is also a bigger conversation we need to have – should tourists visit vulnerable sites and practices?

Hoi An is still a beautiful town but the presence of “wall to wall” tourists mars it. Sadly, as long as UNESCO status is used more as a marketing device than a route to preservation, the situation will continue to deteriorate.

Source: Is UNESCO World Heritage recognition a blessing or burden? Evidence from developing Asian countries

With Cambodia ‘drowning in a wave’ of waste, plastic could be banned at Angkor Wat

via Channel NewsAsia, 30 June 2018: I hope a ban on plastics takes place. Earlier this year I organised a Workshop on Sustainability and Tourism for Archaeological and Heritage Sites and waste management was one of the topics that came up as a pressing issue.

A future ban on plastic in Cambodia’s world renowned Angkor Archaeological Park will be considered by authorities, in what could be symbolic step in the country’s struggle to deal with a waste crisis.

About 30 tonnes of waste is collected from within the 400 square-kilometre complex on a daily basis, according to VGREEN, the company contracted to cleaning the popular tourist site.

Much of that garbage is discarded plastic, which is contributing to an ever-worsening situation in Cambodia, which lacks proper infrastructure and the social awareness to deal with the problem.

Cambodia, per capita, is one of the highest users of consumer plastic in the world. According to the European Union, ten million plastic bags are used in the capital city Phnom Penh every day. The average Cambodian uses 2,000 plastic bags every year, ten times that of Europeans.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/with-cambodia-drowning-in-a-wave-of-waste-plastic-could-be-10388780
Source: With Cambodia ‘drowning in a wave’ of waste, plastic could be banned at Angkor Wat

MoU promotes cross-border trips between Angkor and Sukhothai

via Bangkok Post, 15 June 2018:

Thailand’s Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cambodia’s Apsara Authority to exchange knowledge and expertise about community-based tourism and World Heritage Site management.

Source: MoU promotes cross-border trips

Apsara eyes legal action over drones at Angkor Wat

via Phnom Penh Post, 14 June 2018: Remember, flying drones over the Angkor Archaeological Park is not allowed. As a drone flyer myself I should point out that a good area of the Angkor park (including Angkor Wat) is near an airfield which means flying there generally a bad idea!

The Apsara Authority wants stricter legal action against those illegally flying drones at the Angkor complex in Siem Reap province.

Source: Apsara eyes legal action over drones at Angkor Wat

Room rates in Bagan needs to decrease: tourism official

via Eleven Myanmar, 30 May 2018:

“Their room rates are also higher than the room rates of hotels across the country. Although room rates are high, entrance fee for Bagan archaeological zone is low. Foreigner needs to pay Ks25,000 to visit the zone. So the ministry should increase the entrance fee and decrease the room rates,” said an official from the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism (Bagan zone).

Bagan has about 3,000 rooms available across 85 hotels located in four hotel zones but most are small and medium standard.

Source: Room rates in Bagan needs to decrease: tourism official | Eleven Myanmar

Officials to reopen some Bagan pagodas to climbing tourists

via Myanmar Times, 28 May 2018:

The authorities will permit a limited number of visitors to climb five pagodas in Bagan to view the sunrise and sunset starting in September, said U Aung Aung Kyaw, director of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum in Bagan.

Source: Officials to reopen some Bagan pagodas to climbing tourists

Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

via Phnom Penh Post, 24 May 2018:

Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom.

Source: Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

Tourism creates thorny ethical dilemmas. Isn’t that the point?

via Quartz, 14 April 2018:

A temple, a hat, and a vexing moral question for tourists.

On a recent holiday in Cambodia, as I marveled at the magnificent Angkor Wat temple complex, a commotion broke my reverie.

I had already noticed the other tourist involved: a white woman wearing an Asian conical hat. I had snapped a photo of the mesmerizing Baphuon temple with her in the foreground, walking toward it (above). But when she got to the entrance, she was blocked by a guard.

“In Cambodia, the Vietnamese hat is not allowed,” the guard told her.

Source: Tourism creates thorny ethical dilemmas. Isn’t that the point?