Cambodia maps ecotourism policy

PHNOM PENH, 7 July 2017: Cambodia’s ministries of tourism and environment will complete a national draft ecotourism policy by August to coincide with the second National Forum on the Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources.

Phnom Penh Post reported both ministries met for the first time, earlier this week, to discuss the policy, which was initiated by the Ministry of Tourism to identify and promote ecotourism in the kingdom.

Ministry of Environment spokesman, Sao Sopheap, said the policy would help to diversify the kingdom’s tourism sites, contribute to conservation and boost local and national economies.

After approval of the draft national ecotourism policy, Tourism Minister Thong Khon and Environment Minister Say Samal will create a task force to monitor ecotourism and work with the private sector to “conserve and preserve”, Khmer Times reported.

Environment Minister Say Samal said the ministry has been working in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to prepare an alternative mechanism to raise awareness to protect and create a sustainable environment to promote tourism without risk to natural resources.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon has targeted the development of three ecotourism zones; Chong Khneas (Tonle Sap River), Prek Toal and Kulen mountain to establish alternative venues for visitors to  Siem Reap’s Angkor temples.

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.