Sustainable Community-Based Tourism in Cambodia and Tourists’ Willingness to Pay

  • Sabine Müller Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland
  • Lukas Huck Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland
  • Jitka Markova Conscious Tourism International, Cambodia
Keywords: Cambodia, Community-Based Tourism, SDGs, Sustainable Tourism, Willingness to Pay


Community-Based Tourism (CBT) sites are often seen as a tool for poverty alleviation and eradication, especially in Least Developed Countries like Cambodia. CBT as a development tool has been critically examined in recent years in a development cooperation context, but also in academic literature. Two of the major discussion points are the approaches used both to establish, and ensure the financial sustainability CBT sites. This paper seeks to contribute to these discussions by examining the viability of the classical top-down CBT model in comparison to the bottom up approach to promote sustainable tourism development in Cambodia in consideration of the Sustainable Development Goals. The often-missing financial sustainability frequently happens due to a lack of management skills and a lack of knowledge of pricing in the communities. Based on this notion, this paper also contributes to the discussion by examining the willingness to pay of different target groups (i.e., locals, expatriates, and international tourists), and presents two argu- ments in support of a stronger emphasis of the local and, especially, the expatriate mar- ket. Firstly, expatriates display significantly higher willingness to pay than international tourists, and, secondly, expatriate support allows CBT sites to build an understanding of potential customers’ needs, thereby supporting a more organic and sustainable growth.

Author Biographies

Sabine Müller, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland

Sabine Müller, Dr., is Lecturer and Project Manager at the Institute of Tourism at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland. Her main areas of expertise include: community-based tourism, destination competitiveness, and sustainable tourism development. Sabine is involved in teaching and leading consulting projects in a variety of topics with tourism businesses and political institutions. Prior to her work at the Institute of Tourism in Lucerne, Sabine has worked for the German Development Cooperation in Asia.

Lukas Huck, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland

Lukas Huck, MA, is a research associate at the Institute of Tourism at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland. His consultancy and research work focuses on destination management and sustainable tourism development. Prior to his engagement at the Institute of Tourism in Lucerne, Lukas has worked for destination management organizations such as Switzerland Tourism where he was responsible for international marketing activities.

Jitka Markova, Conscious Tourism International, Cambodia

Jitka Markova is the Cambodian Country Director for Conscious Tourism International, a UK- based NGO that uses community-based tourism as a tool for the implementation of Sustain- able Development Goals (SDGs) and UN 2030 Agenda. Her main areas of expertise include community-based tourism, sustainable practices in tourism development, women-run social enterprises, financial modelling, and diversity. She is also a co-founder of Impact Explorer, an online marketplace for community-based tourism projects that bridges the gap between rural communities and independent travelers.


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How to Cite
Müller, S., Huck, L. and Markova, J. (2020) “Sustainable Community-Based Tourism in Cambodia and Tourists’ Willingness to Pay”, Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 13(1), pp. 81-101. doi: 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0030.
Current Research on Southeast Asia