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Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 1996; doi:10.3390/su9111996

Impact of Tourism Growth on the Changing Landscape of a World Heritage Site: Case of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR

1
Department of International Development Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
2
Department of Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering, School of Environment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
3
Global Scientific and Computing Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 27 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability of Culture and Heritage)
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Abstract

Rapid tourism development adversely impacts and negatively transforms World Heritage Sites. This study aimed at examining how tourism growth has impacted the built environment of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR through an empirical approach. Luang Prabang has received a critical warning from World Heritage Committee for the escalating development pressure on its vulnerable landscape. Hence, this study examined two aspects: (1) the spatial pattern of the increase of touristic usage; and (2) the relation between the increase of touristic usage and the significant changes in the built environment. For this, geographical information systems (GIS) are combined with statistical methods such as logistic regression and chi-square test of independence. The results affirmed that the change from other types of usage to touristic usage in existing buildings has a higher chance to occur along riverbank areas than in the middle of the peninsula in the core heritage area. Change to touristic usage is also related with three significant changes in the built environment, namely: (1) change from other types of architecture to Lao traditional architecture; (2) change from modern to traditional roof materials; and (3) change from traditional to modern building materials. This indicates that the increase in touristic usage has contributed to strengthening the heritage elements of the landscape. View Full-Text
Keywords: tourism; World Heritage Site; built environment; GIS; statistics for categorical variables; Luang Prabang tourism; World Heritage Site; built environment; GIS; statistics for categorical variables; Luang Prabang
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Leong, C.; Takada, J.-I.; Hanaoka, S.; Yamaguchi, S. Impact of Tourism Growth on the Changing Landscape of a World Heritage Site: Case of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1996.

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