The Kingdom of Cambodia is a country of fascinating and breathtaking scenery with an ancient mysterious and captivating culture that has attracted curious visitors from all over the world in all times. But today it is not only the ancient past with the magnificent temples of the old empire Angkor that catches their attention, the recent gruesome history also interest questioning visitors that want to find answers to the horrors caused by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s. Cambodia has recognized this interest from the outside world and the tourism industry has therefore rapidly flourished. As tourism is becoming a more recognized source of income it is necessary to take into consideration that Cambodia is a developing country with noticeable social differences concerning the local community. The country and its people can therefore be vulnerable towards a development of the country as a tourist destination.
The country has today a lot to offer the modern global traveller. The bustling busy city capitol of Phnom Penh with its magnificent Royal Palace, the lively social life in the city centre and along the Sisowath Quay next to the Tonle Sap river. The smaller pleasant and welcoming town of Siem Reap situated close to the impressive stone temples and smiling stone faces of Angkor. And finally the somewhat unknown beautiful serene beaches of Sihanoukville along the country’s coastal strip. These are the main attractions that are marketed and offered the international visitor during her stay in Cambodia.
The preservation and restoration of the temples of Angkor has for a long time been questioned because of the damage that tourists bring while visiting the country’s main tourist attraction. The decay of the temples is of course due to weather and time but the process is speed up by the stress caused by the behavior caused by tourists. A question that is not so often discussed is the stress caused by tourists on the society as the
consequences of tourism can be both positive and negative for the community and the social life. The tourism industry can lead to an economical development that can contribute to job opportunities, education, health care and international recognition on the world market. This however can only be achieved and continued with a sustainable tourism development. Without control and management the positive outcome of tourism will fade away and negative outcomes will take over.
Negative consequences can be a result of not taking responsibility of the social environment and the less fortunate within the country. A faded culture, environmental pollution, littering, exploitation of the country and its people, abuse and jealousy can be the result of uncontrolled tourist behavior. With negative consequences a sustainable tourism development is no where to be seen and can erase the promising country as a tourist destination quickly from the world map. It is hence of importance that there are resourceful and influential organizations behind the decision-making process. To be able to protect the social community it is of value to understand the complexity of the problem. Sustainable tourism development in the country Cambodia can contribute to an encouraging progress for the country and its people. However, a sustainable development can only be achieved if the negative outcomes are minimized. To control these negative outcomes it is important to understand the complexity of the problem. That is to say in what way can international sustainable tourism and responsible travel be
invested in the social community?