New rules on the way for visitors to Angkor

By: Sean Teehan and Thik Kaliyann

After several recent incidents of tourists behaving badly at the Angkor Archaeological Park, the Apsara Authority said yesterday that it has nearly completed a code of conduct for tourists visiting the temples, a work two years in the making.

By early June, they should be ready to send a draft to experts at the International Criminal Court to review the code’s legality, Sok Sangvar, head of tourism management planning for Apsara, said yesterday. But much of it is common sense.

“Basically the code looks at where we need to indicate what not to do when visiting Angkor,” Sangvar said. “[Such as] not dressing inappropriately, and not touching things.”

While the final touches are being put on the draft conduct code on the heels of several high-profile cases of tourists running into legal problems after taking nude photos inside temples, listing rules for behaviour at Angkor temples was not inspired by them.

When completed, the rule book will likely be distributed to people in the tourism industry, said Long Kosal, another Apsara Authority spokesman.

“We will circulate [the code of conduct] widely to relevant authorities and private sectors that are involved with tourism such as tour guides, tour agencies, hotels, etc. We need their cooperation to get a good result in practice,” Kosal said

The code of conduct could be applied to other sites in the Kingdom but is pretty Angkor-specific, Sangvar said.

“We’re exploring all these ways for tourists to understand what not to do,” he said. “[The rules are] mainly about the sustainable development of Angkor.”

SOURCE: THE PHNOM PENH POST