Profiting from eco-tourism in Cambodia

Ashish John
Publicado: 14 Noviembre 2015
Última edición: 29 Marzo 2019
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Through eco-tourism the WCS, park authorities, business and communities are protecting globally significant endangered species in northern Cambodia. These enterprises generate enough revenue for local people to change their behavior to more wildlife friendly ways, while also increasing their wealth. Communities manage eco-lodges and provide employment. A community payment directly linked to conservation is discretionary spending for the village committee.


Sudeste Asiático
Escala de aplicación
Bosques costeros
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Acceso y participación en los beneficios
Comunicación y divulgación
Institucionalización de la biodiversidad
Medios de vida sostenibles
Planificación de la gestión de áreas protegidas
Poblaciones indígenas
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Falta de oportunidades de ingresos alternativos
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente gobernanza y participación
Falta de seguridad alimentaria


Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia
Show on Protected Planet


In Southeast Asia, protected areas have often been seen as open access lands. The resulting lack of stewardship has allowed destructive extraction to occur, and has limited the ability of communities to protect the resources upon which they rely.

Most of the local population are subsistence farmers. Therefore, the project needed to demonstrate how ecotourism could be incorporated into village land-use planning. In order to change behaviour and attitudes, the focus had to be on proving that conservation can result in tangible improvements in community livelihoods and wellbeing.


Local community, Kuy minority ethnic group, women

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

A community payment directly linked to conservation – if the tourist does not see selected species they do not pay – is discretionary spending for the village committee that strengthens the institution, and social pressure on compliance. WCS provides independent monitoring on compliance to a set of wildlife friendly rules and agreed land-use plans. Developing these plans involved securing land tenure and user rights for previously disenfranchised communities in the park. Tourism operator, Sam Veasna Centre (SVC), set up by WCS over 10 years ago but is now independent, markets the sites to mostly international tourists under an exclusive arrangement. SVC is profitable and now makes significant annual investments in conservation. This demonstration of the value of the park beyond its biodiversity, and judicious engagement with politicians, senior bureaucrats and media, ensures support for the park remains high.

Impactos positivos

  • Increased populations of endangered wildlife, particularly endemic birds: the number of successfully fledged white-shouldered ibis chicks has risen from 4 in 2008 to 55 in 2016
  • Improved income from tourism: total annual revenue for the community from service provision has increased from $6922 in 2009 to $18 523 in 2016
  • Diversified sources of income: improves economic and social resilience
  • Contribution to improving community facilities: a total of $38 546 has been paid into the community development fund from conservation-dependent payments since the project’s inception in 2008
  • Project recognised by the government as an example of best practice: received a medal from the Minister of Environment
  • High political support for Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Raised awareness in the community about endangered species, and positive changes in attitudes towards conservation: around 40% of the community are involved in the initiative
  • Community engagement in identifying drivers of deforestation: members monitor nest trees
  • Several communities from within the protected area, and from other protected areas in Cambodia, have visited the project to learn from its successes

Contribuido por

Ross Sinclair Wildlife Conservation Society

Contribuído por

Wildlife Conservation Society