On January 8, 2010, Royal Cambodian Government officials, provincial and district governors, commune chiefs, village chiefs, villagers from Chi Phat, and Wildlife Alliance staff celebrated the official opening of the new Chi Phat Visitors' Center.
The Center is built out of eco-friendly bamboo that was collected in the village area. It is the first engineered bamboo structure in Cambodia. The structure includes a courtyard, an exhibition area with a rainforest & wildlife conservation display and more information about the Community Based Ecotourism Project (CBET), a restaurant, a management office, and a meeting and training room. These new amenities provide guests with more comfort and provide the Chi Phat committee with a central place to hold meetings and workshops.
Our Community Based Ecotourism Project (CBET) has come a long way since it began in 2007. It operates out of the Chi Phat Commune -- a group of four villages that is home to about 550 families and sits on the banks of the Piphot River in Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains. Last year Chi Phat had over 670 paying guests; with revenue going back into the community to support the villagers who provide guest service. Revenues additionally support the Chi Phat Community fund which helps to improve the villages’ education, water supply, roads, and access to health care and so on.
Over the past 2 years, the villagers of Chi Phat have been busily developing trails and camping sites, constructing the Visitors’ Center, and converting their homes into guesthouses. They also have been learning how to maintain mountain bikes, speak basic English, honing their hospitality skills, as well as taking cooking classes, just to name a few!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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