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Overtourism

by Ellie L. Class of 2021

A Study on Cambodia’s Growing Tourism Dilemma

by Ellie L. Class of 2021

For my capstone project, I researched tourism in the city of Siem Reap, better known as the the home of the temples of Angkor Wat. I looked closely at the effects tourism has on these centuries-old sites, how it affects the local people of Siem Reap, what is its role in the economy, and what are the environmental effects. I found that the temples are deteriorating due to the heavy tourist traffic and unregulated numbers. The local government has attempted to control these tourists by stating rules that must be followed to respect the temples and their meaning to the people of Cambodia, but little has worked. They also now require tourists to purchase tickets to enter the temples, but it has also improved little. The local people of Siem Reap have not gained much from the growth of tourism, due to the little money that it actually brings in. Most of the money goes to the government or large corporations that operate outside of Siem Reap. The local economy has improved due to the influx of tourists, but there are too many tourists who do not spend enough money for it to be worthwhile. The city would be better off with less tourists who spend more money. Environmentally, the city is struggling to manage the amount of tourists and they are running out of water. Hotels take water from underground aqueducts, leaving the locals with little water, so there is a water shortage. They have about half the amount of water they need to deal with this amount of tourists. I attempted to come up with solutions to some of these issues, some of which the government is already attempting to put in place. Implementing a limit to how many tourists could visit Angkor Wat each day would be the first step to improvement. Also putting limitations on water usage by hotels would help the water shortage. I concluded that only the government can step in to protect these beloved national landmarks.

  • Global Scholars
  • Student Capstone 2021