35282-013: GMS: Mekong Tourism Development Project

Project Data Sheet (PDS): Details


The Project aims to reduce poverty, contribute to economic growth, increase employment, and promote the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage. The specific objective of the Project is to promote sustainable tourism in the lower Mekong basin through infrastructure improvements, community and private sector participation, and sub-regional cooperation. The Project will comprise four parts: Part A, tourism-related infrastructure improvements; Part B, pro-poor, community-based tourism development; Part C, sub-regional cooperation for sustainable tourism; and Part D, implementation assistance and institutional strengthening.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The GMS is the fastest growing tourism destination in the world. This is bringing in much-needed foreign exchange, creating jobs, and contributing to economic growth. However, growth in tourism is constrained by difficulties in access, the lack of investment in tourist infrastructure, the absence of new products to attract visitors, and weaknesses in policy and institutional capacities. The GMS countries have a strong comparative advantage in tourism, demonstrated by the high growth rates, but need to exploit it more effectively to use it as an instrument of poverty reduction, and broad-based economic growth. GMS Economic Cooperation Program GMS Program Strategic Framework


Promote sustainable tourism development in Cambodia through infrastructure improvements, community and private sector participation, and sub-regional cooperation.

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

The two expected outcomes are: i). Increased economic growth, and ii). Sustainable tourism in the lower Basin of the Mekong River

Progress Towards Outcome

The number of tourists and economic growth in the project areas has steadyly increased.

Implementation Progress

Description of Project Outputs

The key expected outputs are: A. Tourism-related infrastructure improvements, B. Pro-poor, community based tourism development, C. Subregional cooperation for sustainable tourism, D. Implementation assistance and institutional strengthening Part A: Tourism-Related Infrastructure Urban sewer on the west side of Siem Reap rehabilitated, new connections to the system were constructed, stabilizing lagoons constructed in the west part of the town to treat discharges from the area of about 17,000 population; Community sanitation and health awareness program conducted 6.3 km of road access to the Genocide Memorial rehabilitated Part B: Pro-Poor, Community-Based Tourism Development: Capacity building activities for local tourism communities and construction of small-scale tourism infrastructures in Rattanak Kiri and Stung Treng, were completed. A certain number of infrastructure such as visitor information centers (VIC), small bridges, parking areas, toilets, sign posts, fences, food & vendor stalls, changing areas, and ticket booths, etc. were constructed. Part C: Sub-regional Cooperation: Tourism Law approved; sub-decree on the new hotel classification system harmonized with Lao PDR and Viet Nam prepared, approved and implemented; Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office was established and the Project contributed funds for its operation.

Status of Operation/Construction or Implementation Progress

1. Part A: Tourism-Related Infrastructure Improvements of Siem Reap Waste Water Treatment Improvement: - Urban sewer on the west side of Siem Reap was rehabilitated, new connections to the system were constructed, stabilizing lagoons constructed in the west part of the town to treat discharges from the area of about 17,000 population; - Community sanitation and health awareness program was prepared; and - Small resettlement plan was prepared and solved. 2. Road Access Improvement to the Genocide Memorial: - 6.3 km access road elevated, surfaced with asphalt concrete. All works, including two bridges and drainage system for the road improvement were completed. 3. Rattanakiri Airport Improvement: - Rattanakiri airport is considered not economically viable. A change in project scope cancelling this component was approved by VP in February 2009. 4. Stung Treng Airport: - Based on the revised economic and financial analyses completed in July 2006 report, Stung Treng airport is considered not economically viable. A change in project scope cancelling this component was approved on 11 February 2008. 5. Part B: Pro-Poor, Community-Based Tourism Development (Rattanakiri & Stung Treng): The main scope includes institutional strengthening and community participation program for the tourism communities and construction of small-scale tourism infrastructure in Stung Treng and Rattanakiri provinces. This component has created a range of positive impacts. The pace of poverty reduction across each of the CBT target communes in Rattanakiri has outstripped not only provincial, but national rates of reduction. At the start of activities under this component in 2007, the total number of hotel and guesthouse rooms in Ban Lung Town (the capital of Rattanakiri province) was 386. This figure had risen by 48% to 571 rooms by the end of 2009. In Rattanakiri Province, the positive indirect economic impacts of tourism are evident. In Stung Treng Province, rates of poverty reduction at all target CBT sites were lower than national levels. In O Russey Kandal project site (Stung Treng) poverty fell by 7.6% since 2004, and this positive result may be attributed to its location adjacent to the national highway. 6. Part C: Sub-regional Cooperation: This component facilitated and promoted cooperation among the GMS countries for the development of the subregional tourism sector. The main activities under this component include Cambodia s participation in four key initiatives as part of the GMS facility. These initiatives include: the Socially Responsible Tourism Guide, the Mekong River Dolphin Ecotourism Project, the Southern Coast Tourism Corridor, the Green Triangle Initiative, as well as participation in ongoing subregional tourism sector meetings. Under this project, Cambodia prepared and then passed a sub-decree on the new hotel classification system, which is now a mandatory requirement under the Tourism Law for all hotels. Harmonization of hotel classification between Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam has been adopted. Cambodia provided $15,000 per year between 2006 and 2008 under this project to support operations of the Mekong Tourism Coordination Office. 14 visitor information centers were constructed and fully furnished and equipped for operation in 12 border provinces 7. Part D: Implementation Assistance and Institutional Strengthening: - A total of 4 consulting firms were recruited and assisted PCU and PMUs effectively.

Safeguard Categories

Environment: B
Involuntary Resettlement: B
Indigenous Peoples: B

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspect

Environment Unit established within the PIU/DPWT in Siem Reap through a ministerial decree (Prakas) signed by the Minister of Public Works and Transport on 11 February 2008. The initial environmental examination (IEE) reports for the Siem Reap Wastewater Management System and for the Road Access Improvement to the Genocide Memorial components acceptable to ADB were prepared and environmental mitigation measures were implemented during implementation of the civil work contracts. The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the Siem Reap Wastewater Management was designed to reduce environmental impacts during construction and consisted of nine items: groundwater quality, surface water quality, dust suppression, noise mitigation, covering of trucks, maintenance of construction equipment and vehicles, waste disposal, protection of items of cultural heritage and erosion and sediment controls. Oversight by the Consultant and PIU helped insure that the Contractor had taken actions to meet the EMP requirements. The Project has contributed to the improvement of the environment of Siem Reap town through better management of sanitation and drainage facilities.

Involuntary Resettlement

A resettlement plan was prepared and all resettlement activities were completed.

Stakeholder Communication, Participation and Consultation

During Project Design

Participatory community consultations and consultations with NGOs, civil society, private sector operators, government tourism agencies, and regional tourism agencies have been held. The community-based participatory consultations have helped to identify the social and economic needs of the communities, their views, related to project interventions, expected benefits, modalites for community participation and participation of women and youth in tourism-related skills building and employment opportunities. As a result, the project design reflects the strategies for building partnerships with (i) poor rural communities (particularly ethnic minorities) NGOs, and civil society, and (ii) government agencies involved in tourism developmepnt, agriculture, and forestry.

During Project Implementation

The Project will promote private sector participation in market research, planning, and tourism marketing and promotion through initial support for the establishment of tourism marketing and promotion board (TMPB). TMPB will have leadership from the private sector and will mainly be financed from contributions from the private sector. TMPB will promote dialogue between the private and public sectors, expand opportunities for coordination in the development of plans, strategies, legislation, and marketing; and increase the efficiency and international cmopetitiveness of the tourism sector in Cambodia and in the subregion. The Project will also promote the establishment of micro and small tourist enterprises in rural areas, through the pro-poor community-based component. Capacity building for communiteis and small entrepreneurs involved in the tourism industry, will be provided under the Project.

Status of Covenants

Category Rating
Loan 1969
Sector Satisfactory
Social Satisfactory
Financial Satisfactory
Others Satisfactory
Safeguards Satisfactory
Project Financial Statements


Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

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