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Cambodia puts extra focus on eco-tourism

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Cardamom Mountains gain national park status
Cambodia’s eco-tourism industry looks set to get a boost after the Cardamom Mountains were granted National Park status.
The move will see the 1.1 million-acre mountain range – traditionally rife with illegal logging and poaching – receive special legal protection, such as having more park rangers in place and the power to stop private companies from land-grabbing and setting slash-and-burn forest fires.
“The Cardamoms have become a popular, off-the-beaten track destination for eco-tourism in Cambodia, and this status will help to preserve the area,” said Socheat Sen, spokesperson of tour operator Discover the Mekong Travel.
With this also comes the hope that the eco-tourism industry in the Cardamoms, one of Asia’s remaining elephant corridors and south-east Asia’s biggest continuous rainforests, will flourish.
Eco-tourism is the only way to ensure people visit the protected forest, witness its beauty and not leave the damaging human print on the environment. National park status will help to protect this,” said Yulia Khouri, ambassador for NGO Wildlife Alliance.
The status will help create more eco-tours and eco-treks, which will provide more sustainable income for communities, stressed Brahm Dhammajat, spokesperson of Metta Nature, which operates treks through the Aral mountain area of the Cardamoms. He added: “It also makes the world realise the importance of this beautiful place.”
TTG Asia

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