Ayutthaya in Thailand. Mirador in Guatemala. Most people outside of these countries have not heard of either, and future generations will never know of or experience these historical treasures if we do not work to save them.
Both are "global heritage" sites, meaning they are of great cultural value to their own countries and to civilization collectively. That value is more than just a link to the past -- heritage sites offer an overlooked key to revitalizing poorer nations. But explosive growth in tourism and unchecked development in developing countries is putting heritage sites under such severe stress that experts fear widespread, irreplaceable losses in the next 10-20 years. We learned this in the creation of a new report, Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, which reviewed over 500 heritage sites. We found that simultaneous and accelerating man-made threats are putting many fragile sites in imminent danger. National treasures are being lost and damaged by illegal encroachment, construction, poor management, unsustainable tourism, looting and conflict.
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