SIEM REAP – Cambodia’s tourism authority (Apsara) has banned visitors from eating food in the World Heritage temple Angkor Wat complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Hang Pov, Apsara Authority director, said in a letter dated Thursday that the authority wished to remind relevant parties that the Angkor area is a World Heritage Site with many famous temples, especially Angkor Wat, and that eating food in the complex is now banned.
“In order to preserve the precious Khmer legacy and to maintain public order and good sanitation, we ban all food, especially packed meals brought in during sunrise or sunset visits, in the temple complex,” the Khmer Times on Monday quoted him as saying.
He added that tour operators, tourist associations as well as guides have to advice their guests not eat meals in the temple complex.
Nuon Mony, the Siem Reap provincial environment department director, on Sunday said that the ban will help to keep the Angkor site environment clean.
“Leftover food and discarded packages litter the temple complex and it affects the environment at Angkor,” he said. “The authority is taking action as part of efforts to protect the environment at the Angkor complex and keep its surroundings clean.”
Mony added that tourists should find appropriate places to eat instead of in the complex.
Sou Malin, a Siem Reap city resident, on Sunday said that residents support the ban.
“Some people do not clean up after they eat and they litter the area, which affects the environment,” she said.
In October 2017, Apsara Authority banned food vendors from setting up stalls in front of Angkor Wat.
The Angkor Archeological Park, which includes the famed Unesco-listed Angkor temples, generated US$116.6 million in income from entry tickets last year, an 8% increase compared with the year before.
From January to December last year, the number of foreign visitors to the park rose 5.4% to 2.5 million, according to a statement released by the state-run Angkor Enterprise Institute in January.