How to appreciate but continue to protect tangible cultural heritage on our travels?

  • Hi there A part of most tourists' itineraries includes sightseeing, which would involve visiting sites that contain a country's heritage. In the area of tangible heritage, UNESCO defines it as "buildings and historic places, monuments, artifacts, etc., which are considered worthy of preservation for the future. These include objects significant to the archaeology, architecture, science or technology of a specific culture." This said, do you think it is in our interest to avoid visiting ancient and crumbling sites, such as Angkor Wat and Bagan, in order to protect these significant monuments?

  • For every famous site, there are usually lesser-known (but harder to access) options in the same country! For example, there are other Angkor-era ruins in Cambodia beyond the Angkor Wat complex, like Bantaey Chhmar. Visiting these ruins in a respectful way (as shared by Sharon above) also encourages nearby communities to take good care of the ruins, and in some cases, it even attracts funding for preservation and restoration, and creates demand for local community-based tourism initiatives.

  • @Sharon-Lok ah thanks for sharing, I love the principles! Reminds me of a quote I read somewhere... “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, keep nothing but memories” 😊

  • Community Admin

    I don't think we can stop people from visiting ancient sites but we can play our part to make sure we don't cause further damage to these fragile monuments and at the same time, be respectful of local cultures. I think Principle 4 (and the other six) from the Leave No Trace principles would be very appropriate in this case - read more here: "Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts."

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