WCS Cambodia

Ecotourism

WCS works with government and community partners to conserve rare bird species at several sites across Cambodia. These rare birds provide a market for specialist bird tourists, and so WCS has worked with local communities to develop capacity to host tourists. This includes both infrastructure development and training to provide services such as food and accommodation.

At most sites, site-based tourism services are managed by an elected village committee, with facilitation and training provided by WCS. Tourists contribute directly to the local economy through payments to villagers for services such as accommodation, guiding, cooking, transportation. They also make a donation to the village development fund.

Bird conservation is linked to tourism through conservation agreements which are designed to protect the rare water birds and other species. The agreement stipulates that tourism revenue is subject to the villagers agreeing to manage habitats and protect key species, through a village land-use plan and a 'no hunting' policy.

Several sites are now developing ecotourism projects. WCS established the Tmatboey Ibis Ecotourism Project in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains in 2005. The project aims to conserve the globally threatened large waterbirds found at Tmatboey village, using the ibises as 'flagships'. Tourism has been expanded in the Northern Plains in 2009 for visitors wishing to see vultures and White-winged Ducks at O Koki in Preah Vihear Protected Forest. Ecotourism development also expanded to the Seima landscape in 2009, where visitors can view the Orange-necked Partridge.

Ecotourism is also underway at Prek Toal, where visitors can use the ranger platforms to observe the waterbird breeding colonies.

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