There are currently 66 Community-Based Tourism (CBT) and Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) projects across Cambodia, according to a recent brochure published by Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism.
Cambodian communities in the rural areas have increasingly become willing to open their homes to visitors, inviting them to get a taste of the local culture or to explore the wildlife in the country.
“In order to do CBET and CBT in the right way, in a way that is not exploiting the communities, then you must engage and consult with local communities,” said Alison Curry, marketing technical adviser at Sam Veasna Center (SVC), a non-profit NGO that works with eight local communities. “These communities need to be empowered in the decision-making process and that’s absolutely essential.”
According to the Tourism Statistics Report published by Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, more than 4.7 million international tourists visited Cambodia last year.
And up to 20% of them visit CBT and CBET sites, said Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance.