The Kingdom could have an additional three UNESCO World Heritage areas added to its list if Cambodian government tourism officials have their way.
Thok Sokhom, director of international cooperation at the Ministry of Tourism, said yesterday that officials are currently working to submit applications for UNESCO World Heritage status for Battambang city, Kratie city and Kampot city.
“If the plan is a success, it will show that our cities have a long and rich culture, which is a key element to attracting more tourism business,” he said.
Each UNESCO World Heritage site must prove to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius, exhibit important monumental arts or natural landscapes, bear a unique testimony to a cultural tradition, or be an outstanding example of architecture, according to the selection criteria.
According to Sokhom, it will take three years for government officials to collate enough evidence to meet UNESCO’s selection for each of the three cities.
Of the three cities, however, Sokhom said Battambang was more likely to be approved by the UN agency. Currently, Angkor Wat and the Temple of Preah Vihear are both registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Run Pheara, director of the Tourism Department in Kratie province, welcomed the government’s plan saying that if approved, the local economy would thrive off the new-found tourism dollars.
“This is great news for our villagers. Hopefully, if Kratie is successful becoming heritage listed, it will attract more foreign tourists,” he said.