PHNOM PENH, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- A Cambodian non-governmental organization, Sam Veasna Center (SVC), has been named the Gold Winner in the Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation category at the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards in London, according to a joint press release on Monday. Issued by the SVC and the World Responsible Tourism Awards, the press release said the SVC has been recognized for its innovative approach to community-based conservation at Cambodias protected areas, such as Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary and Prek Toal Core Area and Ramsar Site of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. As part of that approach, SVC has trained local people in ecotourism in return for signing no hunting agreements, it said. The judges recognize the SVC for its highly replicable approach, whereby rural communities are trained in ecotourism, and contributions to community development funds are tied to tourist sightings of endangered species, creating an incentive to protect habitats and not to hunt, Professor Harold Goodwin, chair of judges, said. Cambodian Environment Minister Say Samal said that conservation offered new alternatives for local communities to live up their livelihoods through ecotourism activities. This global award puts Cambodia on the world stage for responsible tourism. Congratulation to SVC and the communities they work with. This is a great achievement, he said. Sean Mardy, who represents SVC to receive the award in London, said this result recognized the importance of ecotourism in Cambodia and the success for conservation achieved through responsible tourism. Enditem
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