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Cardamom Tented Camp: Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing

Guiding Principle 6: Reduce tourism’s burden. Account for all tourism costs in terms of local tax burdens, environmental and social impacts, and objectively verifiable disruption. Ensure investments are linked to optimizing net-positive impacts for communities and the environment.

Cambodia’s multi-award winning Cardamom Tented Camp, which opened in 2017 and houses nine safari-style tents, is designed with conservation at its heart. The income from tourism helps to fund rangers who protect 18,000 hectares from illegal logging, poaching, and sand mining, along with camera traps and tracking devices, all of which are essential to preserving the local ecosystem for the communities and wildlife who live there.

Over 17,500 sq km of forest has been lost in Cambodia since 2000 in the race to rapid economic development, facilitated by land grabbing and corruption. Concessions have even been granted to loggers in protected areas. So there is not even a hint of greenwash in Cardamom Tented Camp’s slogan, ‘Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing’. It really does.

This region of evergreen rainforest, cloud forests, grasslands, swamplands, and mangroves in southwest Cambodia is considered one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Clouded leopards, sun bears, dholes (hunting dogs), pangolins and gibbons can all be found here and numbers are stable, or increasing because of the work of the rangers. The Cardamom Mountains also form a vital part of one of the last seven corridors in Asia, hosting the largest population of Asian elephants in Cambodia.

Aside from directly funding conservation, the camp also ensures impacts on the local community and environment are as positive as possible. The camp employs people from the local communities, is solar-powered, purifies black water through ground filtering, recycles and composts almost all waste, and uses locally-produced and organic food, soaps, shampoos, and insect repellent.

It has also started its own garden and begun to educate the local community about sustainable practices including farming and waste management. Visitors are also encouraged to participate in conservation practices. They can accompany rangers on hikes to learn how to track animals, replant indigenous trees in degraded parts of the protected area, and set up and watch camera traps. The camp operates with an Open Business Policy to provide energy and impact benchmarks that other businesses can use as a framework. They also evaluate their own impacts regularly.

Every month, the Future of Tourism Coalition highlights inspiring stories that bring our shared vision for tourism to life. Have a story to share? Submit yours today.


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