As I am still finishing my MSc in Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Met I’m currently volunteering at ConCERT Cambodia as their ‘ Voluntary Responsible Tourism Advisor’.
This is the second year that I’m involved with ConCERT and it has been marvelous to see it evolve in such a wonderful and helpful service. I’m using my learning from the Msc program daily and I can share my knowledge to help the organization.
ConCERT – “Connecting Communities, Environment & Responsible Tourism” – is a nonprofit organization based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The aim is to reduce poverty, and we do this by bringing together visitors who want to help, and local organizations that need the kind of support they can give.
At ConCERT we have information on a range of organizations that are engaged in humanitarian activities, all of whom need your support. They are well managed and financially transparent, and work in partnership with local people.
We also have a wealth of information on the causes and effects of poverty in Cambodia; this information explains why there is such an urgent need for your support. People are also often not aware of their actions as a tourist and the consequences for the country and the community.
I believe this kind of service is fairly new. We actually guide people in being responsible and donate time and money to the organizations that are well managed and need their support. It is important for us to meet the needs of the community and organizations rather than only the needs of the visitor or volunteer. The issues are complex and difficult and we are working with tour operators, our NGO members, and others in the industry to help design better activities. The goal is activities that provide truly memorable experiences for the participants, that are driven by and meet the needs of the local communities, and that embody the true spirit of responsible tourism.
The organization really helps people to make the right decision and be informed about the current situation in Cambodia.
ConCERT has become an effective 3 way link between visitors, businesses, and the local community (via our NGO members) – all 3 groups can play a vital role in the fight to alleviate poverty, and we promote understanding across the 3 sector.