The Kingdom of Cambodia is endowed with tremendous natural capital assets. In addition to their importance for climate mitigation, these rich and diverse natural resources and related environmental services have been key drivers of the country’s economic growth. At the same time, (1) these assets are at risk of serious degradation due to unmanaged development, (2) economic benefits are not accruing equitably to local communities, and (3) the relationship between these assets and business development (dependencies) is not well understood.
A significant proportion of this natural capital is found in protected areas in the Cardamom Mountains, home to a diverse rural population. There is a major untapped opportunity to make these protected areas accessible to a growing local and global market for ecotourism experiences and attractions through inclusive ecotourism investment in Cambodia. If planned and implemented well, ecotourism will contribute to the long-term sustainability of these natural assets and the wellbeing of protected area residents and gateway communities. Ecotourism is also ideally situated to help drive Cambodia’s post-pandemic tourism recovery, as global trends indicate many tourists are more likely to be attracted to uncrowded and natural areas.
Employing a Human-Centered Design approach, Emerging360 in collaboration with Solimar International supported the Cambodian Ministry of Environment within the “Cambodia Sustainable Landscape & Ecotourism Project (CSLEP)” to formulate a five-year Regional Ecotourism Development Plan for the Cardamom Mountains (2022 – 2027). As part of the year-long assignment, Emerging360 developed robust visions for three priority ecotourism destinations in order to stimulate private sector investment, and we designed US$33 million worth of public sector infrastructure development investment recommendations, to be implemented through World Bank financing. Read more