via The Star, 08 April 2019: Food ban in the Angkor temples
Cambodia is asking visitors of its famed Angkor Wat complex to stop bringing in outside food in an effort to limit littering at the home of the Unesco World Heritage-listed site.
A new rule prohibits tourists from bringing in packaged food during sunrise or sunset visits to the temples, where food remains and rubbish are often left behind by many of the complex’s few million annual visitors.
No penalties will be enforced, however, says Long Kosal, spokesman for Apsara Authority, which manages the 400sq km Angkor Archaeological Park.
“Of course, you can bring in the food but you have to find a suitable place to consume your food,” Kosal says, explaining that people should not eat inside or near temples, which are sacred religious sites.
Read more at https://www.star2.com/travel/2019/04/08/stop-bringing-outside-food-angkor-wat/#MmaGp97ix4RZ2P70.99
via The Star, 30 Mar 2019: Death by Unesco-listing is not new, and I’ve previously featured stories about the negative effects of World Heritage status to other sites in the region (see here and here).
It has been 11 years since George Town was recognised as a Unesco World Heritage site. However, the city is now paying the price for its unique status.
The numerous transformations to make it appealing to the middle class have made its original residents leave the old city for the suburbs, and this is threatening to derail its universal values.
Besides the everyday traffic, tourists arriving by the busload, especially during the holiday seasons, are making the narrow roads congested.
The designer cafes, hotels, stalls and souvenir shops that have sprouted up in recent times are not helping the situation either.
Scores of residents have moved out, selling their heritage properties to foreign investors.
Statistics by Think City, a community-focused urban regeneration organisation here, showed that traditional communities in the heritage area are fast disappearing.
via Khmer Times, 02 April 2019: Earlier there was a story that tourist visits were down 7.7% at the end of February, and the revenue sales from the first quarter seems to be consistent with this drop, about 9%. The tourist authorities have attributed the drop to the hot season.
Revenue from ticket sales at the Angkor Archaeological Park declined by 9.3 percent during the first quarter of the year, reaching only $35.9 million.
This marks the first time revenue has dropped since the government took over ticket sales in 2016.
From January to March, the number of foreign visitors to the Angkor Archaeological Park, which includes the famed Unesco-listed Angkor temples, declined 8.2 percent, with just 787,900 foreign tourists visiting the complex, according to a statement released yesterday by the state-run Angkor Enterprise Institute, which manages ticket sales.
via Bangkok Post, 07 and 09 Mar 2019: While I’m bringing to attention the recent plans to drill for oil next to one of the ruins in Si Thep, it’s a good idea to take a step back and appreciate the significance of Si Thep in the first place. The temple ruins are only the most recent archaeological vestige; the area has been occupied for at least the last 2000 years, developing into a moated settlement with distinct Dvaravati and Khmer periods. This transformation over time which can be detected by archaeology is part of what makes Si Thep an exceptional heritage site.
The Dvaravati monument and the park, which hopes to one day be included in Unesco’s list of World Heritage sites, have recently been a hot topic in the media. But not because of the Unesco bid. (The nomination is still in the planning process.) Si Thep was in the news because an oil drilling operation is set to be carried out close to Khao Khlang Nok stupa. How close? Reportedly, around 100m.
Civic groups in the province as well as the Fine Arts Department, which oversees the historical park, protested the project, as it is a potential threat to the 1,300-year-old religious monument. While it is still unclear how the conflict will be resolved, perhaps we should take this opportunity to get to know a few things about Khao Khlang Nok and Si Thep.
The historical park can be explored on foot or, even better, by bicycle. According to archaeological studies, the area now designated as the historical park has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Excavations have turned up human skeletons buried with pottery and other objects dating back 2,000 years. Over the centuries, the settlement developed. During the Dvaravati period, which was heavily influenced by Indian cultures, it became a moated town, and continued to prosper throughout the period of Khmer dominance.
via Khmer Times, 4 Mar 2019: The move is to stem littering in the Angkor complex.
The Apsara Authority has banned visitors from eating food in the World-heritage temple complex.
Hang Pov, Apsara Authority director, said in a letter dated Thursday that the authority wished to remind relevant parties that the Angkor area is a World Heritage Site with many famous temples, especially Angkor Wat, and that eating food in the complex is now banned.
“In order to preserve the precious Khmer legacy and to maintain public order and good sanitation, we ban all food, especially packed meals brought in during sunrise or sunset visits, in the temple complex,” he said.
The Apsara Authority, on behalf of the Angkor Archaeological Park, on Wednesday accepted a Smoke-Free Heritage Award from the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca) and the World Health Organisation based in the Asia-Pacific region.
The award was presented during a workshop to advance the campaign to make Siem Reap a smoke-free city.
The event, held at the Apsara Palace Hotel, was attended by Ministry of Tourism undersecretary of state Hor Saron and Seatca representative Dr Domilyn Villarreiz.
The award follows the Apsara Authority’s successful efforts to increase public awareness of the issue, emphasise the detrimental impact on the temples and transform Angkor Archaeological Park into a smoke-free zone.
via Xinhua, 01 March 2019: This is the first time in recent memory I’ve read about a drop in tourist numbers at Angkor. Could this be we have reached peak tourism in Angkor?
Cambodia’s famed Angkor Archeological Park attracted 544,309 foreign tourists in the first two months of 2019, down 7.7 percent compared to the same period last year, said a statement on Friday.
The ancient park made gross revenue of 25 million U.S. dollars from ticket sales during the January-February period this year, also down 8.7 percent over the same period last year, said the state-owned Angkor Enterprises statement.
via Bangkok Post, 01 Feb 2019: The original headline of the story was terrible (‘Sanitising history’) but the news is in fact a welcome one – a new policy by the Fine Arts Department bans styrofoam food containers from Thai historical parks.
Historical parks and learning centres under the Fine Arts Department nationwide will be free of styrofoam food containers soon under a new environmentally friendly policy.
Anandha Chuchoti, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, has revealed that the department has issued an announcement on reducing and banning the use of food containers made of styrofoam at all historical parks and learning centres under the supervision of the department.
Under the new policy, cooperation has been sought from all the agencies under the department and food vendors operating at any such parks and centres to curb and stop using styrofoam food containers.
via Spot.ph, 20 January 2019: Newly-declared heritage sites in the Philippines worth a visit.
Pindangan Ruins. Source: Christa I. De La Cruz, Spot.ph 20190120
Heritage sites will always deserve to be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s even better when they’re declared cultural treasures by international agencies or local groups, because the recognition not only helps highlight these places’ significance in our culture and history, but also helps in the preservation and protection of these awe-inspiring structures and natural wonders.
If you’ve already seen your fair share of local heritage sites, here’s a new list of recently declared National Cultural Treasures and Important Cultural Properties by the National Museum of the Philippines. Whether you’re visiting up north, traveling to Visayas and Mindanao, or even just looking for a fun weekend date, these places are worth a stop.