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Prey Veng provincial environment department chief Toch Varatha said his department was planning to help the community to create potential ecotourism sites like the one in the Boeung Sne area.

“Through the potential of the natural area and natural resources in Boeung Sne lake, it is expected that other communities will contribute more to the development of this area into a tourist site.

“When it becomes a tourist destination, those who live alongside the lake will benefit most.”

Although there is no community tourist base, thousands of families living in 23 villages in five communes near the lake have already benefited from the conservation project. Small-scale fishing businesses are one example.

Boeung Sne Conservation Community Commission member Pan Yoeurn said that after the conservation effort, rare species of birds returned to the area.

This seemed to make it rich in animal life and an attractive place to visit in the future.

He takes tourists on evening cruises to watch the birds. There is no fixed price for his services. Customers decide how much to pay.

Mr Chanthorn, who took a boat ride, said that if the area turned into a tourist site, and had relaxing places or small restaurants as in other tourist destinations, he would introduce the area to his friends.

Mr Sarith said he thought those supporting tourism services or visiting the Boeung Sne area to look at the birds would mostly be people living in the area.

He said the eco-tourism project would be a model for other communities.

“They can start thinking and getting together to make plans to make it successful for each community because each region has different tourist potential.”

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