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UNESCO Warns of Tourism in Asia

September 26, 1999

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ The rapid growth of tourism in Asia threatens to destroy some of the region’s finest historical sites, the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization warned Sunday.

Despite high tourism earnings, governments are leaving heritage sites to crumble, said Richard Englehardt, UNESCO’s regional adviser for culture based in Bangkok.

``It is a shame that even though tourism will soon become the world’s leading industry, not enough is being invested back into the communities, cultures and sites that provide its base,″ he said.

Twenty-three of the most endangered sites are in Asia, said a UNESCO statement issued for World Tourism Day, which is Monday.

Sites at risk include Penang, Malaysia which is threatened by property development, temples in Cambodia’s vast Angkor Wat complex that are prey to looters, and 3,000-year-old rice terraces in the Philippines that could be lost to changing agricultural practices, it said.

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