Bid to boost ecotourism

PHNOM PENH, 21 July 2017: Various ministries in Cambodia that have links to tourism will work together to boost ecotourism.

Khmer Times reported ministries of tourism, environment, agriculture, forestry and fisheries will work together to help communities take advantage of opportunities to get involved in ecotourism.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon was quoted saying there are about 2,000 fishing and forest communities nationwide, but only a few offer tourism services.

“We will work with relevant ministries to establish a joint working group to create ways to help communities to  function better within the tourism sector,” he said.

The working group will offer communities assistance to make infrastructure improvements and offer training for local tour guides, the minister said.

“If we build the capacity of tourism communities, we will be able to help them earn additional income. We want tourism standards in communities to be comparable to other places in the region.”

Currently about 50 tourism communities are providing quality tourism services nationwide, he added.

Cambodia’s ministries of tourism and environment will complete a national draft ecotourism policy by the end of August to coincide with the second National Forum on the Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources.

Last year, Cambodia welcomed 5,011,712 international tourists up 5.0% from 4,775,231 visits in 2015. Of that, only 66,349 tourists visited ecotourism areas, but it represented an improvement of 4.9% from 63,261 visits, according to the ministry’s statistics and tourism information department.