Chiang Mai bids to become Thailand’s sixth protected site

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via The Nation, 12 September 2018: Chiang Mai prepares to be nominated for Unesco World Heritage Status.

THE CHIANG MAI World Heritage Working Group has completed its paperwork and is ready to make its submission this month to Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to make Chiang Mai a world heritage city, Woralun Boonyasurat, head of the Thai Art Department at Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, said yesterday.

Source: Chiang Mai bids to become Thailand’s sixth protected site

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Bagan and the World Heritage list countdown

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via Frontier Myanmar, 30 August 2018

Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe | Frontier

Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe | Frontier

After years of challenges and controversy, a UNESCO committee will decide next year whether to grant World Heritage listing to Bagan – but hotel development in the archaeological zone remains a thorny and unresolved issue.

Source: Bagan and the World Heritage list countdown | Frontier Myanmar

Gardens might affect Bagan UNESCO bid

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via Myanmar Times, 15 August 2018: Garden construction in Bagan temples may potentially affect the bid to nominate them into the World Heritage register. This adds to the number of issues previously highlighted in the nomination of Bagan with modern constructions (such as here and here).

Bagan authorities are planning to build 17 gardens inside the compounds of well-known pagodas, but a local UNESCO official expressed concern the move could affect Bagan’s bid to be declared a world heritage site.

Source: Gardens might affect Bagan UNESCO bid

Resort plans put Jerejak heritage status in doubt

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via Free Malaysia Today, 22 July 2018: Jerejak Island in Penang, Malaysia is a former leper colony that was planned for nomination in Unesco World Heritage. This plan is now in question as the state government has okayed plans for a large luxury resort to be developed on the island.

Deputy tourism minister to write to Penang chief minister about plans for luxury development on former leper colony island.

Source: Resort plans put Jerejak heritage status in doubt

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Coffin protest by Melaka Portuguese community was a desperate survival call

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via The Star, 18 July 2018: The Portuguese community is one of the oldest communities living in the Melaka World Heritage Site.

MELAKA: Coffins placed by the Portuguese community during the protest at the Melaka Gateway site office on Tuesday (July 17) are considered “sui (bad luck)” for locals, but this indicates a desperate call for survival, says state exco member Norhizam Hassan Baktee.

Source: Coffin protest by Melaka Portuguese community was a desperate survival call

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

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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