Cambodia Luxury Tourism: A Model For Others To Follow

Proudly contributed by Mark Bibby Jackson

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Children with buffalos on Koh Rong Beach. Image courtesy of Song Saa Resort via Mark Bibby Jackson

Children with buffalos on Koh Rong Beach. Image courtesy of Song Saa Resort via Mark Bibby Jackson

The world is getting smaller, with travel companies and hotel chains increasingly reaching out into previously untapped parts of the world. At the same time, our concept of what constitutes luxury tourism is changing. Five-star resorts are two a penny and even space tourism is no longer in the realms of science fiction.

So what are today’s luxury travellers seeking?

In Cambodia luxury tourism appears to be about offering guests a private luxury escape, but one with a clear difference.

“Real luxury tourism is providing and offering people private time to let them discover something new, something special, to let them connect to the hearts of the Cambodian people, their customs, practices and their culture,” says Jef Moons, the CEO of Knai Bang Chatt luxury resort in Kep. “It is these experiences that provide memories of a lifetime.”

Moons believes that today’s travellers are seeking something beyond luxury pampering. They are looking for a “property that first takes care of its own people, that respects the environment, and that makes social commitments before indulging its guests”.

It is an attitude that Rory Hunter fully endorses.

In 2012, together with his wife Melita, Hunter opened the kingdom’s first private island luxury resort in the Koh Rong archipelago to the south of Cambodia. From the start, the couple were committed to preserving the environment, establishing the Song Saa Foundation, which benefits the 3,000-strong local community.

Projects include coral reef conservation, the restoration of mangrove and seagrass beds, sponsorship of marine research by local post-graduate students and supporting the creation of Cambodia’s first marine national park … Read the full story.

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) welcomes contributions from tourism experts and travel storytellers. Click here to discover more about our contributor program.

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