The thousand-year-old Si Thep Historical Park in Phetchabun is being proposed for Unesco’s tentative list of new heritage sites, according to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Speaking during a recent trip to survey tourism development in Phetchabun, Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, deputy chief of the NCPO, said a Thai panel has resolved to nominate the Si Thep Historical Park to the tentative list of World Heritage Sites.

Work is under way to prepare related academic information by the Culture Ministry, Gen Tanasak said, adding the chief of the Fine Arts Department will organise seminars on the matter. The process is needed to work out the steps which must be taken in putting the proposal to the World Heritage Committee so it can go through without a hitch, he noted.

Experts will be consulted before the proposal is submitted, Gen Tanasak said.

“In the past, we could propose a number of sites at the same time. But now we can submit only one at a time,” said the NCPO deputy chief, acknowledging that the process to nominate the Si Thep Historical Park might be more complicated.

Preparations must be made to provide answers to queries the World Heritage Committee might have over the nomination, he noted.

If and when the site is put forward for the tentative list, the committee’s representatives will conduct an on-site survey, he said. Once the site is proven to have met all the required criteria, it will still take some time before a decision is announced.

According to the former deputy prime minister, Thai authorities will be able to consult with the committee before submitting the proposal.

The authorities must find out what the committee wants, Gen Tanasak said, expressing confidence that the site would win approval to become listed as a World Heritage Site.

The park has been developed to retain its historical integrity. Excavation for historical finds has continued, he said. A plan is also being laid out to draw more visitors to the site.

The deputy NCPO chief insisted it is important that more people in the province also visit the park and take a more active role in preserving it. He said it would be difficult to develop the site without participation from locals.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Si Thep Historical Park encompasses the ruins of ancient Phetchabun which also covers the Si Thep Ancient Town. It is believed to have been built during the boom years of the ancient Khmer empire over 1,000 years ago. The ancient town is surrounded by a moat and a mound with ponds and swamps dug for use by the inhabitants in the old days.

News Reporter

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