Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment is working to spur local economic development by organising small-scale tourism products in communities to provide new jobs and boost local incomes. In doing so, they aim to reduce locals’ dependence on forest harvesting and help protect the environment.
A total of 22 ecotourism-focused communities currently managed by the ministry cover an area of 35,003ha in 12 protected areas in eight provinces including Ratanakkiri, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Pursat, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kampot, and Kampong Chhnang. In the first nine months of this year, revenue from these 22 communities is estimated to have injected more than $25.21 million into the local economies. Of the 536,545 visitors to the areas, 529,160 were domestic tourists and 7,385 international tourists. Data also shows that in 2018, $16.16 million was earned from 343,852 tourists and last year, $18.90 million came in from 402,293 tourists.
The local government is currently working to turn more locations into protected areas with tourism potential so communities can participate in the development and growth of the national economy. Its policy will also contribute to strengthening the conservation of Cambodia’s natural resources and biodiversity.