World Bank initiative to raise $54 million to help develop eco-tourism

A $54 million Cambodia Sustainable Landscape and Eco-tourism Project (CSLEP) will be the World Bank’s largest tourism investment in Cambodia. It will take five years to carry out and will involve seven provinces including the Cardamom Mountains, Southeast Asia’s largest intact rainforest, the Tonle Sap Lake’s flooded forests and Phnom Kulen in Siem Reap.

This comes as tourism operators in the Kingdom are putting pressure on the government to reopen the borders and follow other ASEAN countries to be able to get the economy back on its feet. The call for this as the news broke that Cambodia is the second-most vaccinated country in Southeast Asia behind Singapore. They added that if Cambodia were to open the borders in November, tourists would be visiting an emerging eco-tourism destination.

Ecotourism is classed as “responsible travel that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. Often referred to as “nature tourism”, the sole task of ecotourism is to reduce the impact brought on by tourism on the environment, such as litter, habitat loss and soil erosion. It also builds cultural and environmental awareness, encourages positive experiences for new visitors to the eco-tourism scene as well as boosting employment and financial opportunities.

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Thomas Smith / Khmer Times