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Action needed to ensure Italian town retains UNESCO status


19:35, July 10, 2013

BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhuanet) -- The ancient town of Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its unique archaeological importance. However, this famous tourist attraction has recently been given a stern rebuke by UNESCO for a lack of maintenance.

Alarm bells are ringing once more over the upkeep of the Roman city of Pompeii.

UNESCO has given the Italian government six months to report on the conservation progress of the troubled Pompeii archaeological site. Otherwise, Pompeii will be removed from UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

The maintenance of Pompeii is a long-standing problem. Since it was listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1997, archaeologists have complained about the poor upkeep, mismanagement and lack of investment.

Riccardo Rimonti, tourist guide, said, "Usually there are strict requirements when you visit a museum or a historical site. But here nobody cares whether the visitors touch the cultural relics or even when they draw a picture on the walls."

As well as problems with upkeep, however, a lack of staff at the site is also a major problem. According to UNESCO’s requirements, Pompeii needs at least two thousand more security staff to maintain its operation.

Ernesto de Carolis, director of Pompeii Ruins, said, "We don’t have a plan yet, but we will definitely put more people on the site."

Italy’s culture ministry has assured UNESCO that efforts will be made to overcome the site’s urgent problems. Hopefully the upcoming measures will keep Pompeii on UNESCO’s list, but also on the list of responsible tourists.

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