After dispute, lake to become eco-tourist site

A Preah Vihear province lake that is the site of a former dispute between members of the Kuy ethnic minority and a local businessman is to be made into an eco-tourism site, according to the UN Development Program and local officials.

In June, the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program, which is administered by UNDP, approved a roughly $45,000 grant to support conservation by the Kuy, the UNDP said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

About $10,000 of that money will go to fund eco-tourism at the roughly 28-hectare Choam Prei lake in Rovieng district’s Romany commune, according to the statement.

Plans call for training residents of the nearby Romchek village, buying tents for rental and building toilets and an information center, among other things.

“I am very happy for this development,” said Sok Mao, chief of Romchek village, which is made up of some 230 families. “It will help local villagers to make a profit and support their families.”

Tourists from Preah Vihear and Kompong Thom provinces already visit the lake during the holidays, according to Ang Cheatlom, director of local NGO Ponlok Khmer, which is implementing the two-year project.

“We hope to increase the international tourists who come to visit and improve the livelihoods of the ethnic minorities,” he said.

Local businessman Bin Nhap blocked villager access to Choam Prei lake beginning in 2004 after receiving permission to run a fish farm there, said Romany commune chief Seng Chheang. Mr Nhap was unavailable yesterday but Mr Chheang said he reopened lake access for the villagers in January this year.


Related Stories

Latest News