Under the “Cambodia Sustainable Landscape and Ecotourism Project”, the Ministry of Environment is developing its vision and investment plans for tourist destinations in the Cardamom Mountains, with a focus on establishing ecotourism in protected areas of Siem Reap, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong provinces.

The ministry said that the areas include the Preah Jayavarman-Norodom National Park “Phnom Kulen”; the Oral Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and the Central Cardamom Mountain National Park; and the Tatai and Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Khin Meng Kheng, project manager of the project, revealed this during a workshop on developing the tourist destinations of the Cardamom Mountains and Tonle Sap Lake.

The workshop was attended by many stakeholders, including community representatives, local authorities, provincial administrative working groups and representatives from the departments of environment; tourism; rural development; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; culture; and planning.

He said the workshop was to be held from January 30 to February 4 in the three provinces.

The main purpose of the workshop was to learn about the strategic objectives and investment plans of stakeholders of the ecotourism sites.

The Chambok Community Based Ecotourism Site is an attractive natural resort in Kampong Speu province. In addition to being the site of non-timber forest plantations, some communities have turned to tourism to support their families. This is part of the Cambodia Sustainable Landscape and Ecotourism Project.

Touch Mork, head of the Chambok Community ecotourism site, said the community was established in January 2003.

“There are many waterfalls and scenic areas in the area, as well as bat caves and mountains,” he said.

He said the community consists of 637 families dwelling on 3451ha of land. The community attracts many visitors with their communal longhouses and home-made trucks, he said, adding that the traditional culture and dance of the people attracted visitors.

“We have taught them to sell sticky rice in bamboo, and they make natural and recycled jewellery which they sell to tourists to earn extra money,” he said.