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Ecotourism revenues increase despite COVID-19

Tith Kongnov / Khmer Times Share:
Neth Pheaktra, Environment Ministry spokesman, shows the potential protected areas for tourism. Dap News

Ecotourism recorded $25.21 million in revenue over the first nine months of the year, an increase from the two previous years.

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Neth Pheaktra, Ministry of Environment spokesman, said on Saturday that due to COVID-19, the number of tourists visiting natural tourism sites in areas protected by the ministry had increased.

“People cannot travel abroad, so they travel within the country. This year tourism has grown more than in 2018 and 2019,” he said.

Pheaktra said in 2018, there were 343,852 tourists and revenue of $16.16 million, and last year, there were 402,293 tourists who spent $18.90 million. This year has seen 529,160 national tourists and 7,385 international tourists so far.

He said the data was collected in 22 community areas in 12 protected areas in eight provinces.

Pheaktra said that developing ecotourism is the right strategy to improve the livelihoods of local communities and create new opportunities.

“In order to be effective and strengthen measures to protect and conserve natural resources, including forests, wildlife, and other biodiversity for future generations, we need to have a strategic plan and appropriate solutions,” he said.

“I would like to request and call on all people to visit natural tourism sites. Please participate in maintaining environmental hygiene, packaging and proper storage of garbage and avoiding dumping waste which spoils the beauty of these places,” he added.

Say Samal, Minister of Environment, on Thursday urged the ecotourism community to participate in the development of their areas.

“They should make efforts to develop their tourist sites with adequate services, including toilets, water, food and focus on ensuring the safety of tourists,” he added.

According to a report from the ministry, the 22 ecotourism communities cover an area of 35,003 hectares in 12 protected areas in eight provinces: Ratanakiri, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Pursat, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kampot and Kampong Chhnang.

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