Image from The Washington Post.
Read the full article subtitled "Rapid Rise in Tourism Is Overwhelming Cambodia's Ability to Protect Fragile Sites" by Anthony Faiola in The Washington Post, February 6, 2007.
Including Cambodians, the number of visitors to the ancient Angkor "archaeological park will reach a record 2 million this year and at least 3 million by 2010, according to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which identified Angkor as a World Heritage site in 1992.
"The growth has put the Cambodian government in a difficult position, observers say, forcing it to balance the potential to make money against the need for preservation, restoration and study. It is a dilemma familiar to other countries that profit from treasured cultural sites.
"The Acropolis in Athens, the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Hagia Sophia area of Istanbul are all experiencing tourism pressures. In Peru, the massive sand lines at Nazca and Palpa have come under threat from encroaching power lines and roving tourists in jeeps. In Nepal's Kathmandu Valley, UNESCO has decried 'uncontrolled urban development.'
UNESCO's World Heritage Program, which under Russell Train's leadership the United States proposed for UNESCO, provides a uniquely cost-effective instrument by which we can encourage countries to protect natural and cultural sites that are the heritage of all mankind.