The Netherlands Development Organization announced yesterday it would provide free consulting services to six yet-to-be-chosen tourism companies as part of an ongoing program for community-oriented tourism in Cambodia.
Speaking at a tourism conference yesterday in Phnom Penh, Trevor Piper, a senior adviser on tourism for the development organization, also known as SNV, urged hoteliers, tour operators and travel agents to boost profits by reaching out to more civic-minded travelers.
“We want to move away from the average six-day stay in which visitors go to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and maybe Sihanoukville and help people see different parts of Cambodia,” said Mr Piper.
SNV has been working with the Ministry of Tourism, the Cambodia Community-Based Ecotourism Network and the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents to develop alternative destinations throughout the country.
In the next month, SNV will select six businesses that will receive 18 months of free marketing support and profit-oriented responsible tourism consulting from its tourism experts and BDLINK, a local consulting firm. Between 30 and 50 businesses are expected to apply to be part of the program.
“Our job is to help them grow and be involved in their communities,” said BDLINK consultant Lun Yeng.
In his opening speech, Tourism Ministry Secretary of State Kor Sumsaroeut praised the Chi Phat Community-Based Ecotourism Site in Koh Kong province’s Thma Baing district, which he said helped the environment and locals by allowing villagers who had been working as loggers and hunters to earn more money as tour guides.
“We need to use responsible and sustainable tourism to reduce poverty in Cambodia,” said Mr Sumsaroeut.
An SNV study using UN World Tourism Organization data distributed yesterday forecast that the roughly 1 billion people would travel internationally this year and that 1.6 billion would travel internationally in 2020.
According to the SNV study, the European and US baby-boom generation, which controls 70 to 80 percent of the wealth in the West, is characterized by a more active lifestyle and is likely to be looking for new experiences in the developing world.