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Eco-tourism under focus

The ministry of Tourism  and Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast are preparing a strategy to develop community-based eco-tourism, with officials citing Cambodia’s North-East and South-East as areas which are ripe for sustainable development.

After signing a Memorandum of Understanding in August linking the ministry to the university, which is located about 100 kilometres north of Brisbane, academics are lending their expertise to the sector.

Dr Bill Carter, a USC associate professor in heritage resource management in Australia, told The Post on Monday that he intends  to work closely with the ministry  to educate tourism workers to boost professional development. He also plans to organise a skills exchange program,

On Monday he stated that Cambodia held huge potential to develop both short and long-term projects in the tourism sector, whilst sustaining natural resources and cultural history.

“The strategic plan is very important to support and strengthen tourism development sustainably and bring profit directly to the people living in local areas,” he said.

Thok Sokhom, director of the Department of International Cooperation & ASEAN at the Ministry of Tourism, said that USC would help improve human resources within the sector.

He intends to send the provincial governors from four provinces in coastal Cambodia and a director of tourism from a provincial department to study management, development and best practice in Australia this August.

“It is very important for our country. We want to have a long-term development plan which is focused on eco-tourism and tourism based on the community,” he said.

“We need to develop eco-tourism in Southeastern and Northeastern areas.

“We also want to establish  a research centre and a vocational training school, in order to respond to the demand of increasing numbers of tourists,” he added.

“For the second step, we will open an institution and a university. This is our vision.”

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