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Cardamom Tented Camp in Cambodia Wins PATA Gold Award for Ecotourism

Conservation-focused ecolodge and ecotourism project Cardamom Tented Camp in Cambodia, has won the 2019 PATA Gold Award in the Environment – Ecotourism Project category.

Some 27 tourism organisations won 33 honours in the 2019 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Awards, which attracted 197 entries from 78 organisations world-wide. (Full winners list here.)

Since opening in November 2017, Cardamom Tented Camp in Botum Sakor National Park, has led by example to combat the illegal wildlife trade and boost natural habitat conservation within a 180 sq km wildlife concession.

In the last year and a half, Cardamom Tented Camp has delivered conservation tourism experiences to international visitors, trained local staff and supplied vital income for forest rangers protecting wildlife and forest – hence the ecolodge’s tagline, “Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing.”

The camp is the realisation of a unique partnership between two NGOs – Wildlife Alliance and the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (created by Minor Group) – and YAANA Ventures, an Asian responsible tourism partner and operator, which built and runs the lodge.

Due to the proactive relationship between the camp, Wildlife Alliance and the rangers, logging has stopped and the incidence of poaching has rapidly declined.

“We have created something truly unique in conservation tourism,” says lodge manager, Allan Michaud, an ardent environmentalist and wildlife photographer. “We believe the model for the camp could be replicated in other forest environments to protect wildlife habitats and deliver great ecotourism experiences to guests.”

By July 2019, 26 out of 29 reviews by tourists on TripAdvisor rated the camp as “excellent” – the highest category – giving it a 5.0 overall score.

The nine-unit tented camp, with restaurant pavilion, staff dormitory, ecotourism equipment and boat pier, uses solar power to run lodge amenities, including waste water filtration. It is constructed on a natural grassland opening adjacent to the Preak Tachan River, surrounded by mixed indigenous lowland forest and mangroves.

The camp offers a variety of packages which include activities such as hiking, kayaking, wildlife spotting, sleeping in tree tents, and Khmer cooking lessons.

The camp has recently added trips that include an overnight in the deep jungle in tentsile tree tents. These adventurous trips are available from November 2019.

Arranged by Wildlife Alliance, journalists and visitors to the camp have also witnessed the release of illegally captured species such as pangolins, monitor lizards, reticulated pythons, long tailed macaques, pig-tailed macaques, several species of tortoise, and a brown fish owl, all being released back to the wild in the forest near the camp.

Cardamom Tented Camp was one of 15 global finalists in the 2019 Tourism for Tomorrow Awardsorganised by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

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