The “Tonle Sap Eco-Tourism Network” will be established on the occasion of the 3rd National Ecotourism Forum on November 21 and 22 2023, said Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, on October 27, at the closing ceremony for a workshop on the establishment of the forum, held at the ministry.
The workshop brought together the leaders of ministries and institutions, members of the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism, provincial deputy governors, and district administration officials of the six provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake. Jane Wilding, the executive director of BritCham Cambodia and Yok Seng Long, the executive director of Fisheries Action Coalition Team, and others, were also in attendance.
Khon said the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, is the heart of Cambodia. It is priceless for its contribution to society, the economy, culture and the environment. The uniqueness of the Tonle Sap Lake is that it absorbs water from the Mekong River in the rainy season and releases them back in the dry season, a rare hydrological phenomenon.
“This phenomenon has created large wetlands and flooded forests, which provide habitats for biodiversity such as fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and many species of plants,” he said.
“These factors create many opportunities for local economic development and the harmonization of sustainable economic, social and environmental and inclusive development. The lake also enhances Cambodia’s prestige on the international stage,” he added.
Thong Khon, who is also the head of the National Committee for Management and Development of Community-Based Tourism and Ecotourism, set five additional work directions for the Secretariat of the National Committee.
First, it must support the establishment of the Tonle Sap Lake Ecotourism Network, which will be an institutional mechanism under the committee and the Tonle Sap Ecotourism Network, also known as the TEN Network.
Second, the Secretariat of the National Committee must cooperate with its partners to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding, which will be signed with the TEN Network at next year’s National Ecotourism Forum.
Third, the Secretariat must organise the working mechanisms of the network to ensure efficiency and sustainability. In particular, it must develop a comprehensive work plan and clear implementation mechanism.
Fourth, the minister requested that institutions and development partners from national and international organisations that will be the founders or members of this network offer support for the operation of the network, both technically and financially.
Fifth, he called on development partners, national and international organisations to provide technical and financial support for the Ministry of Tourism and the National Committee on the implementation of projects relating to ecotourism and community.
Khon announced that he would support and coordinate the implementation of projects relating to ecotourism and communities. Chuk Chumnor, chairman of the Secretariat of the National Committee would help coordinate the preparation of activities.