A team of officials at the Kampong Thom provincial Forestry Administration have begun studying the ecotourism potential at the Prey Kbal Bei Community Forest in Ti Pou commune’s Kbal Bei village in Santuk district.
Forestry Administration acting director Bun Sothy told The Post that the Prey Kbal Bei forest community, which covers 800ha, has high tourism potential because of the presence of a variety of water birds living and feeding there.
He said the community also has waterways which will enable tourists to travel inland on motorboats to the forest community, where tourists can observe wildlife and relax at booths specially catered for them.
Sothy also mentioned that the trails in the area are suitable for vehicles in dry and rainy seasons.
“We currently have some booths available for tourists to relax and enjoy a meal along the water’s edge. But our community wants to strengthen ecotourism in the region,” Sothy said.
He said that the Forestry Administration and the community are now mobilising more support from the government and non-governmental organisations to strengthen ecotourism.
Ideas include allowing tourists to plant trees in the community as well as feed chickens, fish and bees.
Kampong Thom provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Pen Vannarith said the policy of the ministry and the department is to support the establishment of community-based tourism sites in Kampong Thom.
“We always support the conservation and development of the tourism community. We want them to continue with this kind of activities,” he said.
Wildlife and Natural Resources Protection Organisation director Touch Nora said he supports the initiative, and that it is a great way to improve the lives of people in the community and reduce migration.
“People from all over the country have migrated, and the work in this district is risky and low-paying.
“Some people leave their children with their grandparents and migrate to work, and sometimes they can’t contact each other. So creating tourism jobs is great for the community people,” he said.