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Battambang in Cambodia could become a heritage city under UNESCO auspices

The old city of Battambang and the province’s surroundings could become a new World Heritage site in Cambodia, after Siem Reap and the controversial Preah Vihar Temple.

PHNOM PENH – UNESCO in coordination with Battambang province and tourism officials held talks recently as part of the first of several conferences on sustainable tourism for the conservation of cultural and natural heritage and the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. The participants to the talks discussed the inclusion of Battambang into the UNESCO World Heritage List, a way to ensure protection to the natural and cultural heritage of the Province, West of Cambodia and adjacent to Thailand. “We are discussing to list Battambang as a UNESCO heritage city, as Battambang has its own potential, including economic potential,” said Anne Lemaistre, UNESCO country director for Cambodia to the Phnom Penh Post. 
 
Lemaistre hopes the UNESCO framework will encourage more tourists to visit the town and province by linking the preservation of cultural heritage and nature with developing tourist attractions. “The idea would be to have at least a million tourists going to Angkor Wat and then on to Battambang,” she said.
 
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents said Battambang was already popular with Cambodian tourists for its unique architecture.

Recently, Battambang gained more exposure towards foreign travellers thanks to the amazing Circus School Phare Ponleu Selpak who welcome orphans or street kids, revealing their performing talents. The School, which has a proper stage in Siem Reap, already travelled to perform all around the world. 
 

Battambang was named by UNESCO as the City of Performing Arts, because it has more than 100 ancient Khmer and colonial buildings and 1,000 ancient pagodas and temples, and the circus school Phare Ponleu Selpak, which could attract lots of tourists,” said Provincial Governor Chan Sophal.
 
Provincial authorities plan to upgrade infrastructure with road repairs and improved airport connectivity“, he added.

 

Photo caption : Buddhist temple in Battambang
 
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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.

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