Document Type

Senior Thesis

Publication Date



Organizations like United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, have joined with more than a hundred nations in order to develop sustainable preservation techniques for World Heritage Sites, thereby, allowing for a sites continued appreciation for future generations throughout the world. Heritage tourism purports to allow nations to benefit economically from investing in heritage sites as their continued preservation will increase tourist`s cultural motivation to travel to the country, resulting in increased cash flow into the country. However, as more and more tourists visit a location the more wear and tear is put on the site, thereby negatively effecting its preservation. In this thesis I argue that heritage tourism is a counterproductive endeavor with the long term effects being detrimental to the site itself, the surrounding area, and local communities regardless of the economic stimulation it brings to a country. This study reviews the current literature on the effects of heritage tourism and examines the World Heritage Site Angkor, located in Cambodia, as a case study. This case study demonstrates several of the negative economic, social and cultural effects tourists have on a locations and the level of administrative action needed to understand and implement courses of action to mitigate the problems. I conclude that developing countries have to pay both more economically and culturally than what is reaped from tourist revenue as the country already has a week economy, and that a strong governmental presence through protection policies must be utilized if there is any hope of mitigating preservation issues.

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Anthropology Commons