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Tourism Program

Policy Planning and Working with Local Partners 
Tourism, when properly planned and managed, can contribute to effective conservation and to the economy by directly capitalizing on biodiversity assets and by indirectly reducing the vulnerability of the poor to environmental degradation. SIDO supports national and local governments in formulating and establishing policy frameworks that guide development of the tourism sector, government institutional arrangements, and laws affecting tourism.

 

       

SIDO supports tourism planning at national and destination levels through making assessments and analysis, proposing objectives and strategies, providing guidelines, and mobilizing resources. Those plans must consider the various components of tourism development: markets, management of the natural attractions, and creation of local economic benefits.
Park entrance fees and payments from concessionaires and tourists can fund park ranger salaries, as well as vehicles and other equipment to enable monitoring of protected areas. Governments can also set aside revenues from tourism business taxes or airport taxes for managing protected areas, and they can charge visitors special use fees.
The following projects highlight SIDO’s ecotourism policy and planning work in action:

Ecotourism Network
SIDO and its partners are working in networking both private tour agencies and the Ministry of Tourism of the Government through its Tourism Program which there are a variety of ecotourism projects. This project publishes a newsletter on Cambodian ecotourism issues and hosts seminars that are attended by a variety of local NGOs, the local Government and in-county tour operators. SIDO’s ecotourism program acts as a special advisor in its efforts to support this ecotourism projects and to train guides, tour operators, and developers of ecotourism products.

Green Group
SIDO facilitated a series of Ecotourism Participatory Planning Workshops in Cambodia with representatives of the government, private sector, communities, and local institutions. From this process, Working Group (Green Alliance) was formed. The project’s goal is to create responsible tourism in each target tourist place. The workshop has three programs: a Green Deal Certification scheme to be provided a seal to recognize compliance with standards of social and environmental sustainability in tourism; marketing investments promote each place as a destination; and training courses build the capacity of local businesses to provide high-quality services to tourists.

Green Parks
This Ecotourism project is helping to consolidate a network of newly created protected areas in some national parks that protect the most intact, pristine, and biologically rich tropical forests and coastal zones in Cambodia. In partnership with our partners, SIDO is strengthening management of the entire each National Park system. SIDO is giving technical advice to the National Park Authority where we work in defining institutional regulations, policies, and resources needed to influence and guide ecotourism development and implementation at the national park level.

          

 

Engaging Government in Conservation Action 
SIDO partners with governments on local, regional, and national levels around the country to deal with high priority areas of concern. In each province, we engage nations in a common goal – to preserve natural resources for the benefit of all life on Earth.

This strategy has helped create inclusive, powerful coalitions with government leaders in many provinces in Cambodia. While each provincial governor comes to the table with its own goals, priorities, and viewpoints, all strive to protect the natural balance of life on land and in the seas.
Our efforts have assisted our government partners and direct local communities in overcoming the many challenges they face in balancing conservation with their respective development goals, economic interests, and political realities. Closer to home, our work with government leaders led to creation of the National Conservation in Cambodia. We believe that engaging governments in conservation action is essential to maintain human well-being. Joining together to take action on a national scale is a critical step toward achieving harmony between people and nature. For each is dependent on the other.

Business Practices: Ecotourism Enterprises and Destination Development 
SIDO has supported the development of exemplary ecotourism products by providing technical assistance, capacity building, and funding to communities, entrepreneurs, and our partners as follows:

  • Development of viable ecotourism products and services
  • Improvement of business management skills
  • Design of marketing strategies and creation of market links
  • Development of associations, networks, and clusters that strengthen destinations

Strengthening ecotourism enterprises has direct and indirect benefits. Directly, a business adopting ecotourism principles promotes biodiversity conservation at its site and provides income to local people. A business operating inside or adjacent to a protected area will create an incentive among those who benefit from the biodiversity attractions to conserve the attractions on which the business depends.
Indirectly, successful ecotourism businesses has set an example that other entrepreneurs will follow and that will generate growth in the tourism sector overall.

Greening Business 
Eco-conscious companies are pursuing greener business practices. Helping businesses go green has been our business for years. Today, many leading brands turn to us for our expertise.
Mlup Baitong and other Ecotourism NGO partners became our working partner. Together, we established a sustainable ecotourism projects that has supplied many business improvements to stem from this partnership. Their eco-friendly business is grown under the shade of healthy trees, protecting thousands of acres of forest and hundreds of species in the process.
Given options, people make choices that favor a better world. We continue to engage businesses in the fields of agriculture, energy, fisheries, forestry, mining, tourism, and many others, to provide communities with the choices they want. The results benefit people, businesses, and all life on Earth.

Engagement of Communities 
Tourism has the potential to generate both positive and negative effects on an area and its inhabitants. Negative impacts of tourism – particularly to the social and cultural integrity of a community – usually occur when the values and behaviors of the local community are threatened. This threat can include changes to the family structure, community relationships, collective traditional lifestyles, and moral values.              

                                                                             

Closely related is how tourism can affect a host community’s use of natural resources. Those resources can include water, clean air, agricultural lands, and recreational areas, as well as important ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, and coastal areas.

Moreover, tourism can be positive, thereby fostering local pride, revitalizing traditions, decreasing urban flight, improving human welfare, and strengthening institutional development and governance. Related to its very reliance on natural attractions as a resource, tourism can also help foster stewardship among local communities for conservation.

SIDO’s tourism development programs emphasize understanding community approaches toward tourism, as well as the underlying conservation, capacity, social, political, and economic issues. In Cambodia and elsewhere, SIDO has worked alongside communities to improve local benefits from, build awareness of, and create incentives for biodiversity conservation.

Examples of SIDO’s commitment to communities include partners. Those communities are located in the national important Parks Reserve, where SIDO helped to establish livelihood improvement project that combine learning with ecotourism. Visitors stay with host families, and teachers are from the local communities. The added revenue from the project reduces the reliance of participating families on natural resource extraction.

In Cambodia, SIDO’s support and training of a local community led to the successful transfer of ownership and management of which families receive direct economic benefits from the project, while conserving the biodiversity of National Parks.

Capacity Building and Training 
Within the region’s biodiversity hotspots, poverty is driving people to pursue livelihoods that often destroy the very natural resources on which they rely. Increasingly, governments, local communities and NGOs are pursuing ecotourism as part of the solution. SIDO actively supports these efforts by building their capacities to design and implement ecotourism programs that truly address conservation issues and create needed jobs and income opportunities.
SIDO has developed and successfully used its participatory workshops, seminars and training courses to promote ecotourism as an alternative and help communities, businesses, and other local stakeholders develop competitive ecotourism products and destinations. The tools used to undertake this work have traditionally addressed a range of topics including:

  • Business Planning for Environmental Enterprises
  • Community Ecotourism Education and Awareness
  • Ecotourism Product Development
  • Linking Communities, Tourism & Conservation: A Tourism Assessment Process.

Most recently and in the future, in partnership with the local authorities, NGO partners have developed the Ecotourism Learning Program.

Tourism Assessment Process
SIDO’s ecotourism program and its tourism innovation and research unit will have developed "Linking Communities, Tourism & Conservation: A Tourism Assessment Process" – a guide to help donors and practitioners assess current and potential tourism destinations.

The manual will present easy-to-use processes for conducting inventories of attractions; analyzing market demand and competitiveness; evaluating potential social, cultural, economic, and environmental effects; and presenting final recommendations on tourism development. It is also currently being used as a component of the Ecotourism Training Program.

Ecotourism Learning Program
SIDO has partnered with the Government and its working partners – a leader in ecotourism and sustainable tourism education – to develop a specialist training course in ecotourism. Piloted successfully in Cambodia, the program consists of eight courses that aim to increase the knowledge of practitioners and program managers nationwide. Course subjects include sustainable ecotourism concepts, tourism assessments, product development, tourism marketing, project design and management, fundraising, and becoming a trainer. The courses will be carried out in conjunction with local institutions to provide community for ongoing instruction.

Besides producing resources to disseminate best practices, SIDO incorporates capacity building into all of its provincial activities so that strong local partners sustain them. The following are examples:

Ecotourism Training and Curriculum Development

It delivers a training course and workshop in this highly biodiversity in Cambodia. Participants came from a range of communities, including government tourism and parks programs, training institutions, hoteliers, tour operators, and local NGOs concerned with biodiversity conservation in Cambodia. The first half of the program focused on the dimensions and impacts of tourism and criteria for ecotourism.
Through interactive discussions, participants produced strategies and institutional structures for managing tourism in national parks and maximizing tourism revenues. The second half of the program examined the jobs and skills needed to implement those strategies, resulting in an outline of recommendations on key jobs areas and the training necessary to meet ecotourism labor needs in Cambodia.

Ensuring that Tourism Enhances Biodiversity Conservation in Three Destinations

In response to the ecological threat tourism presents SIDO working in collaboration with the private sector in each province, have come together to promote and disseminate the best management practices for tourism in each of these target provinces.

Knowledge and Learning 
SIDO coordinates a focus information exchange network among our regional ecotourism specialists; our technical staff members who are based at overseas and an expanding number of international experts and partners who gather and spread knowledge from our ecotourism experience. SIDO is committed to sharing our learning among this network to improve project design and to increase the conservation effect of our work.

 
 

SIDO also shares learning with other practitioners, the tourism industry, and the public. Through online resources, publications, workshop materials, and conference presentations, SIDO analyzes and shares our success factors in the development of ecotourism destinations, the effects of ecotourism on biodiversity conservation, and the way that communities benefit from ecotourism.

As part of its contribution, SIDO led a panel discussion on best practices on sustainable tourism development through local knowledge. The discussion brought together educators, business leaders, community representatives and resulted in the following recommendations:

  • Strengthening national, regional and international fair tourism and fair trade networks by improving the participants knowledge of each other, in particular the representatives of grassroots organizations, and by allowing for the exchange of experiences
  • Educate about Fair Tourism
  • Facilitate the access to financing
  • Facilitate the access to support services
  • Reinforce marketing and promotions
  • Establish a system of guarantee
  • Monitor, Evaluate, and Capitalize on impacts affecting tourism

Climate, Community and Biodiversity Conservation 
Slowing climate change and helping people and nature adapt to its impacts are among SIDO highest priorities. We must not only mitigate the accumulation of climate-changing greenhouse gases, but also prepare countries, communities and individuals for erratic weather events, and begin to restore the healthy ecosystems that naturally balance climate change and provide for all life on Earth.
Increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are altering weather patterns worldwide, causing droughts and water shortages, more intense hurricanes and coastal storms, increased transmission of diseases and declining habitats for plant and animal species.
Human impacts – including the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests and other natural habitats – are largely responsible for these changes, and humanity is only beginning to suffer the effects.
 
Much of the debate about climate change focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy production and fossil fuels, and this is absolutely imperative work.  But there is another element to the climate change equation – the burning and clearing of Tropical Forests.
 
In fact, deforestation accounts for approximately 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions – more than all the world’s cars, trucks, trains and planes combined. By preserving forests, SIDO and our partners help to stem global climate change while securing the fresh water, fertile soils, abundant wildlife, and other benefits that healthy forests provide to local people. Tropical forests also are home to more than half of all species on Earth.

 

Saving Forests 
Protecting forests has always been central to SIDO’s mission. Now it is more important than ever. Did you know the burning and clearing of tropical forests – the lungs of the Earth – contributes approximately 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and fuels climate change?

                          

Each community need to know how protecting forests is among the quickest and most cost effective solutions to climate change. Although there are many long-term strategies for mitigating climate change, protecting forests is something we can do right now.

As the husband of longtime, SIDO Group Founders knows that SIDO would better make the connection between healthy forests and climate change for coming decades. Human activity is the main cause of deforestation, usually tied to economic development, increasing consumption. The loss is irreplaceable. Tropical forests are home to more than half of all  species on Earth, and their destruction means the extinction of countless plant and wildlife species, many still unknown to science.

Forests also are important ecosystems in the balance of nature, providing a multitude of resources and services essential to all people. Destruction of habitat and resources forces people to move elsewhere for food, shelter and jobs, leading to greater poverty and social instability.

 
 
   
 
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