The coastal province of Sihanoukville is set for further development aimed at boosting its tourism sectors. An announcement by the government confirmed that preparations of a special tourism area have been finalised.
Comprising of new accommodation services, hotels, hospitals and health centres, construction is expected to commence this year with estimates suggesting completion could be as early as 2023. One investment company has already pledged $16 billion towards developments, sparking interest from other investors looking to capitalise on Cambodia’s ongoing tourism boom.
Canopy Sands Development Co’s project, named ‘Ream City’, will link the three beaches in the province, Ream, Otres and Ochheuteal to the Sihanoukville international airport. The project will encompass an existing 834 hectares of land already owned by the company occupying a total of 3081 hectares between communes in Prey Nob district.
With a hotel, restaurants, sports and commercial centres along with other amenities and facilities this development alone gives rise to opportunities in both public and private sectors within the area. With government approval and the go-ahead from The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development, the Ream City project is set to kick start a chain of investment inside the special area.
A spokesperson for The Ministry of Tourism, Top Sopheak had this to say regarding the special region.
“This area will be more than just for attracting tourist arrivals. It will become a hub for investment and trade too.”
A sub-decree issued last year by the government created special tourist areas for provinces that could benefit greatly from higher tourism. The governments outlined these zones as tourism hubs boasting accommodation, entertainment, food and beverage service, sports facilities, parks, gardens and healthcare centres.
Alongside the developments green-lighted in the Prey Nob district of Sihanoukville, the Siem Reap province has also seen plans submitted for approval of a similar tourist zone. Home to the world-famous Angkor Wat Temple, a new special tourism area would be seen to create reasons for tourists to stay longer adding more activities, entertainment complexes, nightlife and accommodation around the ancient temples.
The secretary of state for the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Vongsey Vissoth said the development of Sihanoukville into a Special Economic Zone, is part of a master plan aiming to replicate the Shenzhen in South-eastern China. Vongsey said “If we want to transform Sihanoukville to be like Shenzhen, it cannot just be about casinos. It has to be an industrial city with services, technology and tourism.”
The drive to increase tourism seen across Cambodia over the last ten years continues to snowball and investment shows no sign of slowing. The lure of the ancient Kingdom of Wonder now a key asset to tourism across Southeast Asia, and with tourism set to double again over the first half of the new decade, there has never been a better time to consider Cambodia for your next overseas venture.