If you happen to ask people what they wish to do during their holidays, I can guarantee you will not have a hard time finding people who mention the word ‘traveling’. According to the Phnom Penh Post, approximately 4.6 million domestic tourists travel across the country during the three day national holidays of Khmer New Year. Such a trend, without doubt, proves that tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry. Although tourism is renowned to play a vital role in creating jobs; alleviating poverty and providing tremendous economic benefits, it comes at the cost of social and environmental impacts.
Due to this very concern, the term “Sustainable Tourism” was emerged and defined by the UN World Tourism Organization as the type of tourism that is well aware of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, while spontaneously taking good care of visitors, the industry, the environment and the host community. In other words, there must be an establishment of suitable balance between three dimensions namely the environmental, economical, and socio-cultural aspects to achieve long-term sustainability.
Environmentally, there must be the maintenance of ecological diversity and the conservation of natural heritage. Economically, there must be a transparent process, a long-term economic operation, the socio-economic benefits to all related stakeholders that are fairly distributed, stable employment, and income-earning opportunities. Socio-culturally, there must be a respect to the cultural heritage and traditional values of the local community that contribute to mutual cultural understanding and tolerance.
By: Englalin EK