Sunday, 17 October 2010
By Keeley Smith
An international heritage conservancy has warned that the Angkor Wat temple complex faces “critical” threats in the form of heavy traffic and inefficient conservation techniques.
A report released by the Global Heritage Fund also said the fact that many tourism-related businesses were foreign-owned made it difficult for Siem Reap residents to benefit economically from the temples.
“Hundreds of thousands of visitors climb over the ruins of Angkor every year causing heavy deterioration of original Khmer stonework,” says the report, which is titled “Saving Our Heritage: Safeguarding Cultural Sites Around the World”.
According to the report, the number of visitors to Angkor Wat has increased by 188 percent since 2000, from 840,000 to 2,420,000 in 2009.
An Apsara Authority official said last week that Angkor Wat had seen a 24-percent increase in foreign tourists in the first nine months of 2010 compared with the same period last year.“Mass tourism is overrunning the fragile archaeology site, with millions every year climbing unabated on the monuments,” said GHF Executive Director Jeff Morgan.