Tourism officials have launched a new initiative called the Eco-Club designed to promote environmental awareness and improve the image of Cambodian cities through better management and disposal of plastic bags.
The program aims to recruit Cambodian youth to spread the word and educate the broader community on the benefits of clean cities.
The initiative was announced during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday between the Ministry of Tourism and other stakeholders.
Thong Khon, minister of tourism, said the Eco-Club will be established at schools, universities, factories and radio and television stations.
During the presentation to youths and the private sector, Neb Samouth, secretary-general of the National Committee for Clean City Assessment, said the ministry intends to sign MoUs with plastic bag manufacturers and retailers to better manage the bags’ use and disposal.
Khon said global tourism growth meant Cambodia would need to adopt strategies to attract new and repeat tourists though developments in “green” concepts now popular in the tourism market.
He said that according to a new assessment, Cambodia received nearly $2.2 billion in revenues from its 3.5 million international tourists in 2012.
Hun Many, president of the Union of Youth Federation of Cambodia, said he would help educate youths in the union to actively promote Eco-club participation and promote clean cities.
He said: “The idea for creating an Eco-Club proposed by His Excellency Thong Khon is important, and we need to do it step by step because this work is crucial for the long-term.”
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said he supported the idea of establishing a network to raise environmental awareness and reduce littering.
“Clean city is not just for tourism, but also for all of us,” he said, adding that people everywhere would benefit from the Eco-Club.
Twenty-eight-year-old Ros Chankakda from Niroth commune of Meanchey district said he attended the training course too.
“If they don’t set up at those levels, the policies will exist at only ministries, so youths will not understand,” he said.
He added that he would convey the message to youths in his commune after participating in the workshop.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]