The Sam Veasna Center, Siem Reap’s premier wildlife and ecotourism operator, was honoured on Tuesday at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London.
The organisation received an award for “Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation”, one of five categories. There were 13 finalists across the categories – selected from a list of 75 – with Sam Veasna the only one representing Cambodia.
“It’s pretty special,” said Alison Curry, a sales and marketing adviser with the organisation, which runs wildlife tours in Siem Reap province.
The centre aims to “[put] Cambodia on the map for wildlife tourism”, she said, benefiting both tourists and the ecosystem.
“Visitors can come here and have an amazing wildlife experience and contribute to conservation,” Curry said. “Cambodia doesn’t market its amazing nature, wildlife or community . . . There is huge potential for this market, and the results can be special.”
The Sam Veasna Center works with eight communities in Cambodia and partners with organisations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to reduce deforestation and stabilise the number of endangered species.
Curry credited the entire team, as well as these partner communities, with the achievement. “Today, it’s been overwhelming,” she said. “And the response from people wanting to know more about how to replicate the model is the biggest win we could hope for.”
The World Responsible Tourism Awards are part of the World Travel Market, an international travel event that attracts tourism businesses from around the world.
For more details on the Sam Veasna Center and its tours, check out samveasna.org.