The Ministry of Tourism has called on adventure tourism providers to be ready for an expected influx of tourists and prepare detailed, straightforward safety briefings to be delivered prior to starting any activity.
Domestic trips to ecotourism sites, as well as community-based and adventure tourist destinations have seen significant upticks, even amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry said.
Increasing travel has directly generated income for people in these communities and strengthened resilience in the sub-sectors during the health crisis, providing a solid pillar of support for the Cambodian tourism industry, it said.
The ministry also asked tourists and the management of local sites to adhere to the adventure tourism standards it introduced in 2015 to better ensure the safety and security of holidaymakers at all attractions.
“Site managers must monitor and advise tourists to abide by the rules and prohibitions set in each area, as well as aspire to carry out tourism safety measures as effectively as possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and take special care to fulfil the ‘three protections and three don’ts’ guidelines,” it said.
The ministry stressed the necessity of toilet facilities of an appropriate size that leave the beauty of nature intact and limit the impact on the environment, and on visitors’ experiences.
It also encouraged tourists to care for the environment, conserve natural resources and promote ecological sustainability.
Hong Vantheth, founder of 12GoAdventure – a play on words meaning “want to go adventure”, said his organisation has always followed the ministry’s guidelines when organising adventure trips to ecotourism sites.
Cambodians nowadays seem to be more interested in adventure tourism than in community-based ecotourism, he said, adding that his business only accepts participants who are fully-vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
12GoAdventure is a community-based ecotourism organisation with the purported mission of promoting local tourism within remote communities across Cambodia.
The ministry noted that the main adventure tourism areas have all experienced a generous surge in the number of domestic tourists in 2020-2021 in light of Covid.
It listed Khnong Phsar Mountain, Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary, Kirirom National Park, Chi Phat commune, Areng Valley, Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary, Sre Ambel district, Veal Thom Grasslands, Samlot Protected Area, Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park, Sea Forest (Samoth Chheu), Tonle Sap Lake, Phnom Kulen National Park and the Ream Sar wetlands along the upper Mekong River in Stung Treng province as examples.
It noted that it divides adventure tourism standards into seven key areas – quality of trekking trails; tourist information; infrastructure development; safety and security; provision of services; management; and social and environmental benefits.
The World Tourism Organisation says ecotourism and adventure tourism – including rural tourism – are the sub-sectors of tourism that have managed to remain active and operational even during the Covid-19 crisis, serving as effective tools to prop up domestic tourism and boost local development, according to the ministry.