(London, England August 29, 2016) – Cambodia’s Sam Veasna Center (SVC) has been named one of just 13 finalists in the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards at the World Travel Market in London. SVC manages wildlife viewing trips with exclusive access to Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) sites across Cambodia.
Cambodia is becoming globally renowned as a destination for eco-tourists looking to see species and habitats that have all but vanished from across Southeast Asia. It is home to some of the world’s most globally threatened birds and wildlife, from the iconic Giant Ibis, Cambodia’s national bird, to emblematic Eld’s Deer, species that can only be seen by tourists on SVC tours. By taking birding and wildlife safaris throughout Cambodia and working closely with rural communities in the most vulnerable habitats, SVC and conservation partner WCS have been able to measure the growth in populations of critically endangered species, a reduction in deforestation, and an improvement in the livelihoods of local communities. The SVC model for eco-tourism is to directly incentivize conservation in communities. This is done by paying a fee directly to the community when certain wildlife are seen, and by employing community members as guides and other service providers.
“Being recognised in this way puts Cambodia on the world tourism map for its incredible birding and wildlife tourism – not something the country is traditionally famous for. It also highlights the importance of ecotourism in Cambodia and the success for conservation achieved through responsible tourism. The more tourists who come to see our wildlife in a responsible way, the more of that wildlife that can be protected, and the more communities can directly benefit,” says Mr Johnny Orn, Director of Sam Veasna Center.
Dr Ross Sinclair, WCS’s Country Director says: “Being a finalist in the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards is recognition of the quality and impact of SVC’s ecotourism products. By partnering with a conservation NGO like WCS to ensure there are conservation outcomes, and working with communities to ensure livelihood benefits, SVC is a world class example of responsible tourism.”
Commenting on the standard of the finalists, Chair of Judges, Professor Harold Goodwin says, “This year we have an incredibly strong field of contenders. Over the past few months each of these organisations has been subject to intense scrutiny by a panel of judges combining some of the leading minds in responsible tourism, conservation and development in the country. They have come through one of the most rigorous and competitive judging processes for an Awards scheme of this kind and have emerged as international leaders in their respective fields.”
SVC was established by WCS in 2006 as a local conservation enterprise and although fully independent the two organizations work closely together to further their conservation missions. Each year SVC invests profits into conservation. In the last year it has supported conservation projects for several Critically Endangered species, and in important protected areas such as the Prek Toal Core area of the Tonle Sap biosphere Reserve and the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.
Notes to editors:
· SVC has successfully made it through the most rigorous tourism Awards judging process and is now in contention to be globally awarded for its contribution to wildlife conservation. Innovation, inspiration and repeatable models were key criteria for this year’s finalists. SVC’s innovative approach, working alongside WCS Cambodia, of conservation through community-based ecotourism has been celebrated for the clear conservation success it has shown.
· By taking birding and wildlife safaris throughout Cambodia and working closely with rural communities in the most vulnerable habitats, SVC and its’ conservation partner WCS, have been able to measure the stabilisation and growth of critically endangered species, and a reduction in deforestation.
About Sam Veasna Centre
SVC manages wildlife viewing trips with exclusive access to Wildlife Conservation Society sites across Cambodia. We were registered as a local NGO with the Ministry of Interior in 2006. Our goal is to provide an alternative sustainable livelihood from ecotourism for the local communities at the sites that WCS prioritises for conservation. In return for the income and employment received they are asked to sign no hunting and land use agreements, which are monitored by Ministries of Environment and Forestry patrol teams advised by WCS.
About WCS Cambodia
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission.
About the World Responsible Tourism Awards
For more information on the World Responsible Tourism Awards visit www.worldresponsibletourismawards.com
Now in their 13th year, the World Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004 to celebrate the most inspiring stories in responsible tourism.
The Awards are organised by Responsible Travel and ICRT (International Centre for Responsible Tourism). The Awards ceremony is hosted by World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, during World Responsible Tourism Day, the world’s largest event for responsible tourism which this year takes place on Tuesday 8th November.
This year, the Awards feature 5 categories covering a variety of topics, which reflect the hottest issues currently debated in the world or responsible and sustainable tourism. Tourism businesses and organisations around the world submit themselves for consideration by a panel of independent, expert judges.
Follow Awards news and updates on Twitter: @RTAwards or #WRTA2016 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/responsibletourismawards where you can also find stories from our previous international winners.
About World Travel Market London
World Travel Market London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL - London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
WTM London, now in its 37th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM 2016 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
World Travel Market London is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s WTM portfolio, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa. www.wtmworld.com
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