The Global Heritage Fund has expressed concern that one of Cambodia’s main tourist attractions, the Angkor Wat temple complex, may be damaged by growing and allegedly poorly managed tourism.
The temple complex was constructed around the 12th century during the Angkorian Kings’ five-century period of rule over a large part of Southeast Asia. The complex had been abandoned and neglected for centuries before recently emerging as a primary tourist attraction in Cambodia, MSNBC reports.
Tourism to the complex has increased 188 percent between 2000 and 2009, yet this tourism has come as a mixed blessing for the ancient attraction. Tourists are climbing over the ruins, gradually deteriorating them, a report by the Global Heritage Fund claims. Hotels and restaurants nearby that have succeeded due to tourism are damaging the region’s aquifer, potentially resulting in elements of the structure sinking into the ground.
Cambodian authorities that oversee the complex have issued rules for tourists, including that they are not to touch the statues. South Korea has also provided funding to build a road outside the complex to direct traffic away from the interior, where it is damaging to the ruins.
The Global Heritage Fund has called for heritage preservation to be an international priority, the news source reports.
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