Since 1991 Ayuthaya has been included on Unesco's prestigious World Heritage List. Referred to as the Historic City of Ayutthaya and Associated Historic Towns, the designation is a point of pride among many Thais, and a selling point for many of the tourists who visit the ruins. However, along with the prestige comes a strict set of rules detailing land use near the historic sites. In late 2007 increasing land encroachment and rapid development were rumoured to have threatened the city's Unesco status. The news unleashed a series of emotional newspaper editorials in which the greed of local entrepreneurs was likened to the invading Burmese originally responsible for the city's destruction. Thailand's Culture Minister admitted that being removed from the list would be 'unfortunate and embarrassing', and has pledged to work with local authorities and Thailand's Fine Arts Department to remedy the situation.
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