The trend of the people in the world today is to travel. The number of visitors increases yearly both domestically and overseas. When people want to relax, they travel to other places especially to those with natural beauty. In order to serve the needs of these tourists, many areas are being preserved and developed in remote areas in the northeast of Cambodia.
Mr. Thok Sokhom, former acting team leader of Mekong Tourism Development Project and Deputy Director of Mekong Discovery Trail said among the eco-tourism destinations in Cambodia, Stung Treng province is one of the great potential areas, with untouched natural beauty and containing O’Russey Kandal, O’Svay and Preah Rumkel communities.
These eco-communities were put in as the start of a conservation and rehabilitation campaign to enhance their natural beauty and to serve the tourist needs. Today, the Royal Government of Cambodia is concentrated on promoting eco-tourism there. There are many linking infrastructures to those destinations.
For the purpose of developing ecotourism, local committees in the O’Russey Kandal area and at Sopheakmith, organized their areas to become attractive destinations for both local visitors and foreign tourists.
Mlup Baitong is a non government organization have been encourages communities by providing them environmental training courses such as community leadership skills, how to protect environment, how to serve guests and food sanitation.
In order to build huts for the tourists, the community asked for money from Baitong. Mlup Baitong checked to see if this was a reasonable proposal. This NGO will provide them the money, referring to our project as the ‘Micro-Project’. So far the Mlup Baitong have built eight cottages on various waterfronts. Most of Mlup Bitong projects were supported by Ministry of Tourism fund.
From the observation, most of visitors from Stung Treng province, Kratie and Phnom Penh also come daily to visit O’Russey Kandal, just 27 kilometers southern part from the town. On the weekend, around 15- 20 motorists visit here. But for national festivals like Khmer New Year, Phum Ben day or the Water Festival, there are thousands of local tourists visiting.
For guest safety, Mlup Baitong have been ; built a check points, parking shelters and information centers. There’re 5,036 hectares of conservative lands and forests along the waterfall of O’Russey Kandal eco-tourism.
By seeing the potential of attracting visitors, the Ministry of Tourism is encouraging the development of this place. Even the Minister of Tourism himself has visited this area.
Before Mlup Baitong came to help the community, at every national festival, the commune chief solicited private bids for organization and control. Since Mlup Baitong has arrived to help develop eco-tourism, there is more community organization.
At the time of the tourist increase in the O’Russey Kandal area, Mlup Baitong provided English classes for young boys and girls so that they could be guides in this area.
Both government officials and the various private sectors expect that the increasing numbers of tourists will spread to their area because this place is next to the newly constructed national road 7. Besides culture, Cambodia still has many eco-tourism areas to attract domestic and foreign visitors, particularly in the Northeast.