(Phnom Penh): His Excellency Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, on the evening of April 28th, 2022, received a courtesy by a delegation of the Bio-diverse Landscapes Fund, led by Her Excellency Tina Redshew, the British Ambassador to Cambodia, and Mr. Robbie Celriog Hughes, Team Leader of the Biodiverse Landscapes Fund.
The talk was made with the aims at discussing the Biodiverse Landscapes Fund of the United Kingdom, discussing the lower Mekong ecotourism development works, finding out further facing challenges in the ecotourism sector, and supporting policies – in particular reviewing the feasibility of promoting cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism on the request for supporting projects throughout Biodiverse Landscapes Fund.
Raised in the talk, the Minister Thong Khon informed that the Royal Government has policies to drive Cambodian ecotourism development focusing significantly on the environment, tourism, natural resources protection, and climate change as during the crisis of Covid-19, the ecotourism areas, natural tourism communities, and ecotourism and adventure tourism are the low – risk areas and have played important roles in attracting a number of national and international tourists, and generated many incomes to the communities.
The Minister expressed that the process of the organization of ecotourism communities which has been previously successful such as ecotourism areas in Chiphat Areng, and many other eco-tourism communities, has turned the business of the people in the area from deforestation, hunting, etc. to jointly conserve natural resources, forests, protect wildlife, serve in tourism, and attract national and international tourists to visit. The community people enjoy working with responsible community-based tourism activities, which can bring them more income than when they hunted and cut down trees without having to migrate.
Regarding the principles for promoting the development of tourism with climate change and the role of ecotourism as a sub-sector of tourism, Minister Thong Khon also stated that Cambodian tourism is focused on cultural and natural tourism, which is developed on the principle of sustainability, climate change response, and poverty reduction.
The government has also set up a national committee to manage the development of community-based tourism and ecotourism and set up a national committee to evaluate clean cities to encourage citizens and tourists to participate in protecting the environment, sanitation, and climate change.
Stated on that occasion, Her Excellency Tina Redshew also thanked the Minister Thong Khon for allowing the working groups of the Biodiverse Landscapes Fund to meet for work discussion and confirmed that the Biodiverse Landscapes Fund of the United Kingdom will provide more than 100 million pounds in aid to implement six landscape development and protection projects in the world, of which there is Cambodia’s Lower Mekong Landscape Protection Area.
According to His Excellency Chuk Chumnor, Director of the Tourism Product Development Department of the Ministry of Tourism, the BLF will give priority to the implementation of the Lower Mekong River Landscape Area Development Project from Kampong Cham, Kandal to Prey Veng, connecting to southern Vietnam. The actual implementation of the project will be revealed in June.