The first online tour in Cambodia

[Original by Mariko OMURA, Cambodia Project (May 26, 2021); Translated by J. Tsuchiya/A. Taguchi]

Hello. This is Mariko Omura from Cambodia. Shortly after the lockdown was lifted on May 18 in Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan raised the level of infectious disease warning for Cambodia to LEVEL 3 (suspension of travel advisory). Indeed, the number of infected people in Cambodia has not decreased as fast as expected. But the country’s economy has been dependent on tourism, and I would love to see the town of Siem Reap be busy with many tourists again. What I can do now is to hope that this pandemic can soon be over and to take infection prevention measures by myself.

The Pub Street in Siem Reap in December 2018.

The same place in January 2021.

The first online tour

Up to now, JVC Cambodia has conducted study tours aimed at mutual learning beyond borders and regions. This country is relatively safe and easy to visit.

The tour participants learned home cooking from the villagers (2019).

The participants jumped in a dance party (2019).

They stayed at villagers’ houses (2019).

We were looking forward to the participants of the study tours being with the villagers, but it became impossible this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, we were eager to be connected with people. That is why we took on the challenge of conducting an online tour for the first time in February 2021.

In this online tour named “A trip to Cambodia: Invited by fragrant herbs,” the village women, who produce dry herbs, and Japanese participants met online! We sent organic herb tea to the Japanese participants beforehand, so they can communicate with the producers while enjoying the tea.

About 20 Japanese people participated in the online tour.

The internet connection was very unstable in the village, and we didn’t know until the last moment whether the internet would be successfully connected or not. It was indeed a very thrilling experience! We also had to prepare fallback video pictures beforehand, which would not be necessary in the case of a face-to-face tour. Finally, the day arrived, and we were fraught with tension.

I cannot relax at all during the live broadcast (…LOL).

In front of me are the travel agent holding up her cell phone and our staff member showing a cue card.

We were relaxed during the rehearsal.

The village women who produce herbs were the hosts of this online tour. While cutting and processing raw materials, they answered questions from the Japanese participants and vice versa.

The villagers curiously watched the Japanese participants on the screen.

Of course, I don’t like COVID-19, but at least we can have an online interaction. The current situation might not be the worst.

The market-tour guide was Rith, he has been working for JVC Cambodia for 25 years. He is sort of our team’s mascot.

We also prepared a precious interview video beforehand.

Taking this opportunity, we also arranged an online visit to the village market.

While writing this blog now, I clearly remember the online tour… That was really fun… Both the online tour and the face-to-face tour have their good points and I love them both. I would like to privately continue having mutual learning opportunities like this even after the activities of JVC Cambodia have finished.

Peace in Tour, a travel agency with which we conducted this online tour, offers various online tours mainly in Cambodia. And the JVC Palestine team conducts online tours with HIS.

It is difficult to travel abroad these days. However, we have online tools which allow us to courageously connect beyond borders and regions.

(Honestly, I hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will be over soon, so we can travel again.)

See you next time!

Share This: