The Khiri Campus Story
Khiri Campus began its life assisting the award-winning destination management company, Khiri Travel, organizing its Southeast Asia educational travel trips. As the demand for student-oriented travel programs grew, Khiri Campus was officially established to focus on the market and had expanded its reach to all countries currently being offered at Khiri Travel.
The motivation behind Khiri Campus’s vision started in 2008, when Khiri Travel came across a remote community called Sambor Prei Kuk on the main road between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. This community lives nearby the fascinating archaeological treasures from the pre-Angkorian Chenla Kingdom of the 7th century, but were noticeably frustrated by poverty and were isolated from the big cities. A coalition including universities, governments, and international NGOs was formed to help improve the local residents’ livelihoods in a sustainable way. Khiri Travel was asked to participate as the tourism sector partner to organize community-based tourism (CBT), alleviating poverty and promoting conservation.
The initial CBT project lasted two years, but a strong bond was formed between the Khiri Travel educational travel team and the community. Although the tourism project was successful, many nearby villagers were still suffering from poor housing and a low standard of living. A simple mattress and a basic toilet for hosting homestay guests were more than they could afford. Khiri Travel devised a new program to offer Sambor Prei Kuk’s authentic tourism in exchange for volunteer work building homes and performing community service. To this day, the essential element that holds Khiri Campus’s programs together is our commitment to helping communities that require assistance in a sustainable and long-term manner.
This experience made it clear that a destination management company, even one with an educational travel division and unwavering commitment to sustainability, cannot be as successful as a company dedicated first and foremost to community development. The synergies between Khiri Travel and what developed into Khiri Campus are unmistakable and well-balanced: both companies share the entrepreneurial vision of small businesses as a catalyst for sustainability, Khiri Travel offers a depth of experience in travel and tourism in Asia, and Khiri Campus has the understanding of application to youth travelers, student and business teams to further community development.