Tourism official proposes elephant ban at Angkor
APSARA [Macromedia Flash Player]
Is Angkor Wat too touristy?
Great Buildings Online: Angkor Wat
Interactive Map of World Heritage Properties [Macromedia Flash Player]
Rulers have long sought to create lasting landmarks through grand buildings and public works projects, and Angkor Wat is certainly one of the most well known places in South East Asia, if not the entire world. Initially built in the early 12th century, the temple and its surrounding grounds have long been popular tourist destinations, and they have survived a number of potential threats, including the long civil war in Cambodia that engulfed the entire country and the region for several decades. However, another threat is looming that could have even more dire consequences, namely the arrival of millions of tourists. Tourism officials recently reported that close to two million tourists will visit the temples this year, and almost 500,000 of them will arrive in November and December. In the town of Siem Reap, which serves as the gateway to the Angkor complex, the bureau chief of the town’s tourism department remarked that “There are too many people, and it’s difficult to supply and feed them.” The situation is also rather complex due to the fact that Cambodia as a whole is heavily reliant on tourism, and a number of government officials are hard pressed to reign in this booming sector of the nation’s economy. In the meantime, there are plans in place to improve the local infrastructure problems around Siem Reap, but it remains to be seen what sustainable measures might need to be taken to ensure the integrity of these important elements of the historical and cultural landscape.
The first link will take users to piece on the issues raised by increased tourism around Angkor Wat from the Christian Science Monitor’s Adam Piore. The second link leads to a news story from the People’s Daily Online that talks about the proposal offered by one tourism official which would ban elephants from the grounds. The third link leads to the website of the APSARA agency, which is responsible for providing stewardship of the buildings and the grounds. Here, visitor can learn about the area’s history and art, and see maps of each monument. The fourth link whisks users away to a piece in the Sunday Times that offers some expert advice (along with the observations of other tourists) about whether or not Angkor Wat has become “too touristy”. The fifth link leads to the entry from Great Buildings Online on Angkor Wat, which includes some basic history of the complex, along with a number of aerial photographs. The sixth link leads to the interactive map of World Heritage properties. Finally, the last link leads to a nice site that culls news stories about Cambodia and the region into one nice package for visitors who would like to stay abreast of ongoing events in the area.