Ministries collaborate on eco-tourism policy

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Holidaymakers swim at an eco-tourism site in Siem Reap province. Photo supplied

The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Environment expect to complete a national draft eco-tourism policy by August to coincide with the second National Forum on the Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources, an environment official said yesterday.

Both ministries met for the first time yesterday to discuss the policy, which

was initiated by the Ministry of Tourism and is designed to promote eco-tourism in the Kingdom, said Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap. “We aim to [complete it], but the time frame from now until August is very near,” he said.

Cambodia’s 7.5 million hectares of natural protected areas represent a “tremendous potential for eco-tourism”, he added, maintaining the move would diversify the Kingdom’s tourism sites, contribute to conservation and boost local and national economies.

During yesterday’s meeting, leaders from both ministries suggested forming a joint working group to oversee eco-tourism development, Sopheap said. Prior to the meeting, both ministries only had infrequent consultations on the policy.

Tourism officials referred questions to Secretary of State Tith Chantha, who did not respond to a request for comment. Sopheap said the draft policy will not be made public until it is finalised.

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