(Phnom Penh): With appreciation for the outcomes of the 3rd Ecotourism National Forum and expression of his full support for the continuing sustainable and inclusive tourism community and ecotourism development for whole tourism, His Excellency Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance, set up additional 7 recommendations for the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism toward making the successful implementation in order to continue strengthening and expanding the potentiality of community – based tourism and ecotourism development.
Such addressing by H.E. Dr. Aun Pornmonirath came on the evening of November 22nd, 2022, on the occasion of attending as high representative of Samdech Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of Cambodia, to close “the 3rd National Ecotourism Forum”, at Golden City Hotel. The forum was participated by H.E. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism; H.E. Say Sam Al, Minister of Environment, together with many other stakeholders.
Prior to leading to the provision of H.E. Dr. Aun Pornmonirath’s major recommendations, Dr. Thong Khon also made a brief report on the outcomes of the 3rd National Ecotourism Forum, as follows:
• Cambodia is internationally recognized for its community and ecotourism works – particularly within the ASEAN framework through the implementation of sample community–based tourism development in the form of 4ps (Public-Private-People—Partnership) to empower the community people, to give local people maximize benefits, to reduce poverty, and to adhere to the sustainable and responsible principle in consistent with the concept of “Conservation Serves for Development, Development Serves for Conservation” and in line with a Principle of Equal Benefit Sharing.
• On these bases, the Royal Government took effect the Roadmap on Cambodia’s Tourism Rehabilitation and Promotion Plan in and after the Covid-19 Crisis, on last 30th March 2021, on which the ecotourism sub-sector is one of the 04 pillars (Tourism, Culture, Coastal Tourism, and Khmerness) in restoring and promoting Cambodian tourism.
• In this sense, Cambodia is expected to receive about 11 million internal tourists by 2023 as setting planned, and around 7 million international tourists until 2026 or 2027, with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 and global crisis, as during the 10 months of 2022, we received approximately 1.5 million international tourists, and expected to gain about 2 million for 2022.
With this, after listening to the report, H.E. Dr. Aun Pornmonirath, in addition to expressing of his full support for the resumption of sustainable and inclusive community-based tourism and ecotourism development, he also set up additional 07 recommendations such as:
1. With the adaption of the Declaration on Community–Based Tourism and Ecotourism in a new normal context, would like to ask a whole forum, especially the ministry of tourism, the ministry of environment, and the ministry of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, as well as the capital – provincial board of governors to continue developing their respective local communities on the spirit of high, reliable, and realistic cooperation toward helping the local community based on respective skills – in particular facilitating on investments in the tourism communities.
2. Appreciate the cooperation between the ministry of tourism and the ministry of environment in determining the national–level ecotourism areas, which will become a major foundation in promoting regional tourism and ecotourism activity development. In this regard, would like to ask the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism to organize the needy legal documents to get those areas soon recognized, to study the favorable atmosphere for investment as well as developing and promoting the development being upon the concept of “Development Serves for Conservation, Conservation Sustains Development” toward ensuring the sustainable development.
3. In terms of addressing challenges in the community such as the construction of connected infrastructure and public service provision, would like to ask the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism to continue organizing the priority community lists to include in the ministries/related institutions’ priority plans.
4. Call for development partners and private sectors to provide technical and financial assistance to relevant ministries-institutions in implementing the community–based tourism and ecotourism related-projects.
In this spirit, I would like to express support for the implementation of the community – based tourism and ecotourism related-projects, and ask Dr. Thong Khon, Chairman of the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism, to facilitate in the spirit of high responsibility in organizing plans and related action plans.
5. Would like to call for the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism to cooperate with relevant partners in promoting digital technology – via broadcasts, such as the creation of mobile apps and digital technology nurseries aiming at enhancing the implementation of propaganda “Love Nation, Must Know Land and Tourism Links with Land” in accordance with highest recommendations of Samdech Techo Prime Minister.
6. Support to have the organization of the yearly Ecotourism Festival at the priority ecotourism areas. In this regard, I would like to ask the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism to prepare a proposal to submit for high review and approval by Samdech Techo Prime Minister.
7. Would like to request the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism to prepare reports and submit them to Samdech Techo Premier about outcomes of the 3rd National Ecotourism Forum by asking for approval on the solutions for facing challenges being faced by the communities. In addition, I would like to ask the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism to continue boosting the implementation of the remaining works in accordance with the spirit of the 3rd National Ecotourism Forum and this declaration and to widely promote to all of the related parties.
In addition to this, H.E. Dr. Aun Pornmonirath also expressed a strongly believe that despite the global economic condition is still fragile, the community–based tourism and ecotourism development and the creation of new opportunities for the local people who have direct power in organizing and managing their community development – and particularly being of a chance to seek additional income through the tourism sector at their communities.
On that occasion, His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister was honored to hand over the award winners for the Video Contest Program “Tourism and Entrepreneurship”, co-organized by the National Committee and Khmer Entrepreneurship, which: number 1 winner by The Visitor under the title “Top of Life”, number 2 winner by FOG under the title “The Call of Nature 2”, and 3 number winner by Pre Imagery under the title “The man of courage”.
It should be noted that, on that occasion, there was also the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism, represented by Mr. Thong Rathsak, Director General of Tourism Development and International Cooperation and the Embassy of India in Cambodia, represented by Mr. Sanjiv Aggarwal, Counselor & Head of Chancery on Influential Projects (QIP) on Mobile App Development to Promote Tourism and Ecotourism Communities.
The Signing Ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding on “Establishment of Tonle Sap Lake Ecotourism Network” signed by HE Dr. Chuk Chumnor, Director of the Secretariat of the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism and Mr. Youk Senglong, Executive Director of the FACT Fisheries Coalition.