Tourism can have a profound impact on local communities. Irresponsible tourism can lead to social displacement, cultural degradation, economic dependence and environmental devastation. However, with a little effort and preparation, travelers can actually lift local communities out of poverty while protecting the cultural and environmental heritage of an area.
Each destination faces unique challenges and threats, and doing some research in advance will help you make smarter choices. The first step is picking a destination that promotes local culture, sustainable development, and responsible stewardship of natural sites. Choosing ecofriendly lodging that is locally owned and operated is another important and easy way to create a positive impact.
In Cambodia, Wildlife Alliance’s Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) project helped the community of Chi Phat develop nature-based ecotourism in the Cardamom Mountain Range, one of Asia’s last rainforests. Visitors lodge in local homestays while exploring the surrounding forest. The revenue from ecotourism has helped provide alternative, climate smart livelihoods to former wildlife poachers and slash-and-burn farmers. Not only is our CBET project helping stop the destruction of the forest, but it is also ensuring that future development will be sustainable for the community and the environment. Today, 80% of CBET members that hunted and logged in Chi Phat no longer do so.
To support ecotourism and sustainable development in rural Cambodia, visit our donation page and choose Community-Based Ecotourism from the dropdown menu. To plan a trip to one of our project sites, click on the ‘Book a Tour’ tab on our website.