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UNESCO shares concerns about NagaCorp’s IR, Angkor Lake of Wonder

UNESCO has shared concerns about NagaCorp’s plans to build an integrated resort featuring theme parks and cultural attractions called Angkor Lake of Wonder (ALOW).

angkor cambodia world heritage site UNESCO

Angkor Lake of Wonder will include hotels, a water theme park, a hi-tech indoor theme park, water cruise attractions, exhibition facilities, cultural attractions, and F&B.

The $350 million development will be located near the Angkor Archaeological Park, which was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.

NagaCorp has enlisted architecture firms Steelman Partners and Genslera to develop Angkor Lake of Wonder at Angkor Wat, an ancient temple complex in Cambodia.

In a statement, UNESCO said the project was discussed at last month’s meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC).

UNESCO says experts are “unfavourable”

UNESCO said “the technical opinions of experts in the fields of conservation and sustainable development were clearly unfavourable” to Angkor Lake of Wonder.

“The proximity of the project to the protected buffer zones of the site as well as the scale, scope and concept of the planned activities could indeed have an impact on the outstanding universal value for which Angkor was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List,” it added.

UNESCO is in talks with Cambodian authorities, “with whom it has been working continuously since 1992 to protect the site and its surroundings”.

UNESCO hopes that authorities “will ensure that the protection of the outstanding universal value of Angkor remains at the heart of the decision-making processes relating to the property and its surroundings”.

$350m development from NagaCorp

Angkor Lake of Wonder has a land area of approximately 187.5 acres. This makes it slightly larger than the combined size of Disneyland (85 acres) and Disney California Adventure (72 acres).

The resort’s water park will feature a lazy river and wave pool, and while its theme park offering will use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (AR).

“Angkor Wat is indeed one of the wonders of the world, with long history and rich culture, a powerhouse in cultural tourism,” NagaCorp company secretary Lam Yi Lin said in November 2020.

The initial phase is scheduled to complete in 2025.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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