Is Prague's UNESCO Status Damaging The City?

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In the last year 8 million tourists have visited Prague. Despite the obvious economic benefits, the Director of Institute for Planning and Development of the City of Prague, Ondřej Boháč, has expressed concern over the city's UNESCO status. He is worried that it is turning the city centre into a "tourist ghetto," which no longer has the needs of local residents at heart. 

"The fact that it is an elite club, it is a significant, prestigious thing, it brings quite large profits to Prague, but at the same time attracts a large number of tourists to the city, which is beginning to be unsustainable. Over the last year, 8 million people have arrived. Prague does not know what to do." says Boháč. 

Moreover, UNESCO status means that there is a ban on new buildings in the city centre, which is stopping the city's architecture from evolving. For example, Charles University would like to build a campus in Albertov but is prevented from doing so because it is located in the monument zone. 

UNESCO provides a lot of money towards the city's monument care, but Boháč stresses the need for a balance between preservation and the needs of local residents.

Author: Jessica Kleyn

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