Cambodia to Host UNWTO Conference on Tourism in Cultural Heritage Sites
The Director-General of Tourism of Cambodia visited UNWTO Headquarters during his trip to Madrid last week to discuss plans to host a UNWTO Regional Conference on Tourism Development in Heritage Sites in Siem Reap later this year.
The Director-General, Mr. Tith Chantha, was in Madrid participating in FITUR, Spain´s biggest annual travel trade fair. At FITUR, Mr. Chantha participated in a specially organized Asia Pacific panel session for tourism experts and afterwards visited UNWTO headquarters to discuss upcoming collaboration activities including a regional conference on tourism and heritage sites in Siem Reap.
¨There is a lot of interest this year in developing tourism around the theme of cultural and natural heritage; ¨ said Luigi Cabrini, Director of UNWTO´s Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme.
¨Siem Reap is one of the most impressive places I have ever visited. It will be the perfect location to hold such a conference.¨
Cambodia, which attracted 2,882,000 international visitors in 2011 according to recently released UNWTO figures, is world-renowned primarily for UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor Wat, one of South-East Asia´s most significant archaeological sites. In 2011, 1.5 million people visited Angkor Wat and it is predicted that this number could climb to 1.8 or 1.9 million this year.
Such a high volume of visitors raises numerous issues in the protection of cultural heritage sites, and topics such as congestion, seasonality, access, authenticity and interpretation are key to ensuring the area´s sustainability for future generations.
The UNWTO Regional Conference on Tourism Management in Cultural Heritage Sites will be held in late October/ early November this year and will aim to bring together representatives of UNWTO Member States both in the Asia Pacific Region and internationally.
The Government of Cambodia has also decided to bid for the hosting of UNWTO´s 21st General Assembly Session in 2015.