Authorities in Preah Vihear province have urged the Kingdom’s youths to promote Cambodia's natural protected areas, in order to inspire more people to develop a love for nature.

The calls were made by Vath Paranin, deputy governor of Preah Vihear province, on August 11.

Paranin described the benefits of visits to protected areas in the province – especially historical tourist sites like Preah Vihear Temple and the Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park.

“Youth who visit our natural sites become valuable grassroots marketing tools. They will promote our natural protected areas to the world. This will inspire more people to learn about nature,” he said.

More than 200 youth from various institutions are currently camping at Tbeng Mountain in Preah Vihear as part of an August 11-13 charity hiking programme.

Paranin encouraged tourists to visit conservation areas, natural resource areas, and other heritage sites, in Preah Vihear province and across the Kingdom, to improve the livelihoods of local communities.

Khvay Atiya, undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Environment, said at the gathering that ecotourism played a part in the government’s strategy of encouraging people to love nature. IN recent years, more people have become aware of the cultural values of natural protected areas through the promotion of tourism.

“Many people living in protected areas now earn additional income through agricultural crops, planting trees, and raising livestock, as they can sell excess production to visitors,” he added.

The environment ministry described how protected area ecotourism has improved the livelihoods of community local communities, thanks to the economic benefits it brings.