Unbearable pressures on paradise? : Tourism and heritage management in Luang Prabang, a world heritage site

Reeves, Keir and Long, Colin 2011, Unbearable pressures on paradise? : Tourism and heritage management in Luang Prabang, a world heritage site, Critical Asian studies, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 3-22.

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Title Unbearable pressures on paradise? : Tourism and heritage management in Luang Prabang, a world heritage site
Author(s) Reeves, Keir
Long, Colin
Journal name Critical Asian studies
Volume number 43
Issue number 1
Start page 3
End page 22
Total pages 20
Publisher Taylor & Francis Group
Place of publication Essex, England
Publication date 2011-04-13
ISSN 1467-2715
1472-6033
Summary This article critically appraises and evaluates tourism strategies and heritage management in Luang Prabang, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a Unesco-designated ‘world heritage’ city. Luang Prabang is widely regarded as one of the most significant heritage cities in Southeast Asia. The city is renowned for its Buddhist and royal culture and also its historic vernacular Lao, French, and Lao-French architecture. The city earned world heritage status in 1995, but since that time the boom in in-bound Asian tourism has put pressures on Luang Prabang’s authenticity and, for some, called into question the validity of its world heritage status. This article examines these substantial and wide-ranging pressures and argues that the growth in tourism and the treatment of Luang Prabang’s heritage are symptoms of broader regional processes of political and economic change, including the expansion of Chinese and Korean investments and the growth of intra-regional tourism. The authors argue that it is unreasonable to expect traditional heritage management mechanisims, including the world heritage listing, to be able to cope with the pressures on sites like Luang Prabang. The very least that is required, the authors contend, is an expanded understanding of the context in which heritage places sit, and the authors make a case that the cultural landscapes approach, combined with explicit concerns for intangible heritage and poverty alleviation, must be at the core of any strategy for long-term protection of the city’s cultural values.
Language eng
Field of Research 210202 Heritage and Cultural Conservation
Socio Economic Objective 950399 Heritage not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Taylor & Francis Group
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30035860

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