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Tourism threatens Angkor temples

This year 2.5 million tourists are expected to crawl all over the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia.

Tourist arrivals quadrupled from 60,000 in 1999, to 250,000 in 2001. This year’s expected total is 2.5 million.

“Mass tourism is the major challenge. There will be an accelerated use of temples that were not constructed for that purpose,” says Anne Lemaistre, who heads UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural and educational body, in Cambodia. “It’s not time to talk about it anymore. We need to act.”

There has never been a lasting master plan to preserve and regulate the 160-square-mile (400-square-kilometer) site, although an Australian-devised Heritage Management Framework enacted this year should help, she says.

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Story: Denis D. Gray, AP | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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