The private sector has expressed interest in developing 40 eco-tourism projects in Mondulkiri province.
Speaking during a press conference at the Council of Ministers yesterday, provincial governor Svay Sam Eang said investors have asked permission to develop 10 projects in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, two projects in Phnom Nam Lear Wildlife Sanctuary and 28 projects in other biodiversity conservation corridors and natural resource protected areas in the province.
“The provincial authorities have made great efforts in this area [tourism development] through the training of human resources in the field of tourism, the improvement of eco-tourism and cultural tourism sites, the maintenance and conservation of tourist sites and the facilitation of tourism investment companies and tourism business registration,” he said.
Keo Sopheak, provincial environment department director, said yesterday the investors provided project master plans and submitted proposals to establish eco-tourism communities to the Department of Environment.
He said the department is studying the plans to make sure the projects do not negatively affect people and harm natural resources.
“The companies must follow the principle of not affecting indigenous villages and local people. Also, the investment companies cannot cut down trees in the natural forests but should instead plant more,” he said. “The companies have shown a willingness to develop eco-tourism by preserving indigenous traditions and wildlife, help improve people’s livelihoods and prevent wildlife hunting and deforestation.”
Mondulkiri province has 36 tourist attractions, including Busra Waterfall, indigenous cultural resorts, mountains, landscapes, villages, the Sea Forest Resort and wildlife sanctuaries. The cool weather in the mountains also attract tourists.
Ngin Sovimean, provincial tourism department director, said tourism plays an important part in contributing to the development of the province which has great potential for eco-tourism.
“Mondulkiri now has a total of 11 private investment companies in the tourism sector, including at waterfalls, and has trained 75 community tour guides,” he said.
Recently, the government asked the Ministry of Tourism to draw up development goals for Kep and Mondulkiri provinces.