In partnership with Khiri Travel, Banteay Chhmar is very pleased to announce that it has won another prestigious award. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has awarded Khiri Travel the 2014 Grand Award for Heritage and Culture for its Banteay Chhmar Tented Camp tour. This is truly an honor for the CBT, our community and Khiri Travel.
The tented camp allows visitors to stay in luxurious, fully furnished tents in close proximity to the main temple complex. Visitors will be able to experience a “sense of time and place” and appreciate the cultural and historical importance of the temple. The tents are low-impact and are taken down quickly leaving virtually no traces of disturbance. More importantly, is that the agreement with Khiri allows the CBT to manage the activities and services for the visitors. Therefore, a significant amount of income is earned for the community. The partnership also develops hospitality and management skills which will beneficial for the community. Finally, the Cambodian Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts (MCFA) is also involved in overseeing that the project will be successful while still protecting the heritage and culture of the precious and irreplaceable Banteay Chhmar temple complex.
A complete list of the PATA Grand and Gold Award winners for 2014 can be found here: PATA Awards 2014
We had another wonderful visit from our good friends at Operation Groundswell. As you may know from our previous posts, this excellent tour operator conducts “backpacktivist” trips around the world. Participants become socially, culturally and environmentally aware of and involved in the communities they visit. They also contribute toward the success and sustainability of the projects that they engage with.
This year, the Operation Groundswell group generously contributed funds for two projects. First, the Banteay Chhmar community used some of the funds donated to build a solid waste management container for the market area. This will make it easier for both the sellers and the garbage collectors to dispose of the waste which is taken to a landfill 3 km outside of the village area. It should also keep the market area cleaner and safer. Second, the group also contributed funds toward installing two handwashing and hygiene stations at the primary school. The handwashing stations will complement the latrines that were also built for the students. This entire project should provide important steps toward improving the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of the children concerning health and how to prevent disease.
Of course, it was not all work for Operation Groundswell. The group enjoyed a tour of the Banteay Chhmar Temple, they played games with the children, went fishing at a nearby farm and enjoyed a picnic by the baray. Thank you again to everyone from Operation Groundswell and see you next year!!!