Presentation on theme: "Community Based Conservation: Tmatboey Ecotourism Project Patrick Hurley Keegan Duffy Nick Huntington."— Presentation transcript:
Community Based Conservation: Tmatboey Ecotourism Project Patrick Hurley Keegan Duffy Nick Huntington
History of Tmatboey Once a great deciduous dipterocarp forest Decimated by heavy agriculture expansion Now one of the poorest regions in Cambodia Home to 15 globally-threatened and 6 near- threatened bird species.
History of Conservation in Cambodia Parks in Cambodia were poorly managed – 70% had communities subsisting within park boundaries “Paper Parks” – Exist on paper but virtually meaningless Problems: – Rangers were poorly paid – No infrastructure – No community incentives to not deplete resources
Integrated Development-Conservation Projects Most common development paradigm in Cambodia – Rarely successful due to: Dependences on subsidies Alternative living strategies treated as additional strategies Economic gains undermine long-term conservation goals. ICDP activities tend to favor one objective over the other (biodiversity vs. livelihood & vice-versa)
Tmatboey Chosen as a ideal ecotourism development by the WCS (World Conservation Society) b/c: – Close to large town – Relatively safe – Close to rare bird mating regions The Great Ibis and the White-Shouldered Ibis became the flagships for the conservation project.
Tmatboey Community-based Ecotourism Project 2003: – Tourists would arrive to poor services – Would be hosted by villagers in their homes Pay for food, lodging, drinks and other services. – 95% sighting rate for rare Ibis species. Pay $30 to Village Fund if rare birds were sighted Pay $15 to Village Fund if no sightings. – Most tourists were budgeted backpackers, friends of the WCS or evaluators from International Birdwatching Tour Operators. – WCS ran the tours and handled tourists logistics (cars, travel, hotels, etc)
November 2004 – April 2005 51 tourists 20 separate groups Revenue from Tourist Services (food, drinks, guides, accommodations, etc) $21 per tourist Village Fund $30 per tourist Generated $2,588 for the village
2005 – 2006 72 tourists 21 separate groups Tourist Services/Village Fund $21/$30 per tourist Generated $3,553 for the village 2006 – 2007 78 tourists 26 groups Tourist Services/Village Fund $47/$30 per tourist Generated $5,961 for the village 2007 – 2008 127 tourists 37 groups Tourist Services/Village Fund $67/$30 per tourist Generated $12,271 for the village
Where were they going wrong? The project offered very poor accommodations for the tourists and could only charge very little for services rendered. Food had to be purchased from other villages – reducing the locally-generated economy. Cooks, guides, and WCS staff had to be hired from other areas to provide consistent services. WCS was virtually running the entire operation: – Not locally managed. – Very limited local income – Questionable conservation achievements
How they changed 2006: WCS hired two professionals to train villagers: – Community Conservation Management Advisor and Ecotourism Development Coordinator – Trained locals and established Committee: Comm. Protected Areas Committee: 9 members (2 women) Guides: 4 expert and 11 local Cooks: 5 women Women’s Group: 3-4. Cleaners: 4 women
How they changed Service Level: – The Tmatboey Ecotour Project grew significantly with the help of grants from WCS contributors other organizations. Allowed the development of more suitable lodging – Four 2-bedroom bungalows, large dining room, kitchen, staff housing. – Solar Panels sufficient to power lights, fans, small appliances, etc. – Solar Hot Water heater installed
Reasons for Success Community Level: – Contract stipulates that continued inputs of revenue to villagers is conditional on villagers efforts to conserve and manage habitat and species Committee members decide on each others pay based on involvement – $10 per month + $1.50 per night on staff (Council members) – $3.75 to each Krom Chiefs – Cooks, guides, cleaners, paid additional wages
Transferring Management ’06-’08 The Sam Veasna Center established – “To promote wildlife conservation awareness and education in northwest Cambodia” 2006: financial prospects were drying up, management was leaving, and was not considered a legal NGO Opportunity proposed new direction for the SVC
Transferring Management… WCS proposed idea of becoming a responsible ecotourism agency to SVC WCS provided funding, a development coordinator and hired UC Berkeley business scholars to write a formal business plan By 2006 SVC was confirmed as a local NGO
Transferring Management… SVC role in program was to: – Operate non-profit responsible travel agency – Manage tourist bookings – Provide tour guides, hotels, fair prices, training and educating community about importance of responsible tourism – Formulate development and construction strategies – Reinvest surplus revenue into conservation projects – Collect data and keep records regarding bird populations.
Transferring Management… Within 3 years: – Grants increased over $30,000 – Tourism numbers grew from just 51 to 266 Villagers begin to understand the ‘phenomenon’ of tourism – Led to a decrease in the hunting of wild birds – Created a growing sense of pride and ownership and a view of wildlife as an important asset to the community
Progress Towards Effective Ecotourism Enterprise An effective community based operation must satisfy at least 6 conditions: – Site must be viable for ecotourism and not damage biodiversity or local culture WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? – Community must have management authority over wildlife and resources in tourist area, and must be locally owned – Benefits must be sufficient to local community and is distributed as equitably as possible to all participating members
Progress Towards Effective Ecotourism Enterprise – Benefits from tourism for local communities directly depend on maintained presence of the unique wildlife species – Integrated monitoring system exist to ensure that these objectives are met – A sustainable mechanism exist to support the community-based ecotourism site(s) to allow local people to compete and be viable in the international tourism market