Local Cambodian seller at a floating market
CAMBODIAN agents are favourable towards a new ecotourism legislation currently being drafted.
Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism revealed that the law, now in an early developmental stage, aims to better tap into the global ecotourism trend by keeping tourist offerings competitive while at the same time protect natural resources and boost conservation efforts.
The legislation is being developed with the help of the French University of Toulouse and Acting for Life, an NGO which specialises in sustainable tourism, to identify necessary criteria to govern and support the growth of the sector.
Tourism minister Thong Khon said: “Ecotourism is a new tool to attract foreign tourists and it is a trend that should be focused on to develop our tourism industry. Ecotourism can benefit local people directly and play an efficient role in reducing poverty.”
He added that arrivals for ecotourism and community-based tourism (CBT) are growing by almost 20 per cent year-on-year.
Somborath Dy, operations manager at Cambodian Rural Development Tours, which promotes ecotourism in Northeast Cambodia, said: “Cambodia has the potential to develop ecotourism because it not only has rich cultural resources but also diverse natural resources.”
He adds that It is essential the plan encourages private and public bodies to work together to enhance training, capacity building and financial backing to promote sustainable growth and overcome challenges such as insufficient infrastructure, illegal hunting and excessive logging.
Heng Vuthy, general manager of Mekong Dreams, which focuses on CBT, said: “Cambodia has many sites that are perfect for ecotourism to be developed, helping provide authentic experiences while providing support to many struggling communities.”
For 1H2016, 37,385 international tourists visited Cambodia for ecotourism, an increase of six per cent compared to the same period last year.