Published on : Saturday, September 20, 2014
The Royal Government of Cambodia, in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), and Griffith University accepted and endorsed the Phnom Penh Declaration on Community Development Through Tourism yesterday.
“Our two-day international conference has been constructive, productive, fruitful, and efficient. In line with this year’s theme for UWNTO’s World Tourism day of tourism and community development, we resolve to seek further understanding, participation and involvement of the citizens in the ongoing process of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism development. I hereby proclaim the Phnom Penh Declaration as the official record of our two-day international conference,” said H.E. Mr. TITH Chantha, Secretary of State of Tourism and High Representative of H.E. Dr. THONG Kohn, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia.
“It is highly appropriate to announce the Phnom Penh Declaration ahead of PATA’s 37th Travel Mart when there is so clearly a pragmatic alignment of interests between public and private sectors. Authenticity is at the heart of good travel experiences, and communities deliver that authenticity. No matter how good your hardware, you will not get repeat customers without good human capital development and community buy-in,” added Martin Craigs, PATA CEO.
Accepted and endorsed at the International Conference on Community Development Through Tourism, the Phnom Penh Declaration recognises the principles and guidelines for community development through tourism, and the work of community based tourism and its stakeholders to sustain communities and their unique attributes, conserve and protect the natural environment and cultural resources, foster knowledge exchange, and promote local socio-economic development, capacity building, empowerment, and poverty reduction.
Dr. Greg Hill, Vice Chancellor and President, University of the Sunshine Coast, said, “Community based tourism has the potential to empower communities and the individuals who live in them. The conference has brought together local, regional, and international expertise to share best practice and plan for a more productive and equitable future for those most in need. The Phnom Penh Declaration captures the combined wisdom and vision of the conference participants. It maps an exciting and practical pathway to the future.”
“To link community development with tourism is a significant achievement at the international level, because it reflects the spirit of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, whereby the Code emphasizes that tourism must benefit local community – economically as well as socially,” said Dr. Xu Jing, Director for the Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO.
“The sharing of multiple experiences demonstrates the enormous potential of working together to build inclusive economic growth, social development, and cultural preservation. The challenge is to ensure that community based tourism is well managed to preserve cultural and natural assets and that its benefits are shared by all,” added Anne Lemaistre, UNESCO Country Director, Cambodia.
The Phnom Penh Declaration defines community based tourism as an activity, community owned and operated, and managed or coordinated at the community level that contributes to the well-being of communities through supporting sustainable livelihoods and protecting valued socio-cultural traditions and natural and cultural heritage resources.
“I am very excited to be in Phnom Penh to witness the announcement of this very important document,” said Professor David Shum, Dean of Research, Griffith Health, Griffith University.
The International Conference on Community Development Though Tourism from September 16 – 17, 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, brought together over 300 participants from tourism authorities, community tourism experts and practitioners from 28 nations to discuss various aspects of community based tourism development. The aim of the conference was to present case studies, examine the mechanisms (both institutional and practical) that have led to successful inclusion of stakeholders, implementation, and analysis of the lessons learned in developing community based tourism enterprises.