Cambodia’s cultural heritage a big draw

CAMBODIA is emerging as a cultural destination where visitors expect more interaction with local people and culture, according to a report by SNV, a non-profit, international development organisation based in the Netherlands.

The Responsible Tourism Market in Cambodia report revealed that out of 1,200 visitors to Cambodia interviewed by SNV, 81 per cent said learning about culture and history ranked as their top priority, followed by 74 per cent who wanted to try local cuisine, and 62 per cent who wanted to meet and interact with local people.

SNV’s study also revealed that visitors would pay a premium for travel that included responsible elements.

Seventy-six per cent of respondents were willing to pay more for a tour that contributed to a community or environmental project, 68 per cent were willing to fork out more for a hotel or guesthouse that actively contributed to the local community or environment, and 63 per cent were willing to pay extra for accommodation with an active energy and environmental policy.

SNV Cambodia senior advisor for tourism, Trevor Piper, said the report’s findings come at a perfect time for the Cambodian travel industry.

“Over the past few years, the growth in the market for sustainable packages has become clearer,” he said. “Tour operators see the opportunity to respond to this market trend, while at the same time helping communities that have in the past seen limited benefit from the millions of tourist dollars that pour into Cambodia each year.”

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