The environment and tourism ministers yesterday agreed to create a working group to draft a national eco-tourism policy as tourism numbers continue to increase in the country.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap said the aim of the national policy would be to expand eco-tourism destinations, resulting in an increase to national tourism revenue while propping up local business ventures.
“Our country has many potential eco-tourism areas,” he said. “That is why this policy will be created to protect those areas.”
Cambodia has 46 protected areas covering about 7.5 million hectares, Mr Sopheap said.
At the meeting between Environment Minister Say Samal and Tourism Minister Thong Khon, three areas were singled out as having eco-tourism potential, including the Chong Khneas (Tonle Sap), Prek Toal and Kulen mountain areas.
Mr Khon encouraged private sector companies that have experience in eco-tourism to participate in the growth of the industry.
Forty percent of tourists visit heritage sites, while 25 percent visit coastal areas, the Environment Ministry said on its Facebook page following the meeting, noting the number of tourists visiting eco-sites is growing at about 10 percent every year.
A Ministry of Tourism report said Cambodia received 5 million foreign tourists in 2016 and expects to get 5.5 million this year, 7 million in 2020 and 11 million in 2025.