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Dolphin drawcard

In an effort to boost tourist numbers, the Ministry of Tourism will host an eco-tourism seminar in the northeastern provinces to showcase its main attraction, the Irrawaddy dolphins of the Mekong River.

Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, said last week that officials attempted to hold the eco-tourism seminar in October, but because of scheduling issues, officials have moved the event to November this year.

He said officials are conducting a study on Irrawaddy Dolphins which is yet to be concluded. “This project is being conducted by the World Tourism Organization. Once they have finished collecting the data, we will hold the seminar” he said.  

Touch Seang Tana, chairman of the Commission for Dolphin Conservation and Development of Mekong River Dolphin Ecotourism Zone, said yesterday that the population figures for the Irrawaddy dolphins varied from study to study, with some quoting about 100 and others as many as 200.

He said the number is different due to a lack of resources to conduct a thorough population study. “There is disagreement on the specific data because we do not yet have enough materials [to count]” he said. “In the next one or two years, when we have money to buy more resources, we will see the real figures. Then the numbers can stop being debated.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at



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