The Council for Development of Cambodia announced to allow a Chinese real estate firms to develop a new five-star hotel in the Southern seaside resort of Sihanoukville. Will the investment herald a new era of wiser and more sustainable investments for the city? Authorities hope that the new five-star will finally help changing the image of the battered destination.
Sihanoukville could be named Cambodia destination 2019. However not for its spectacular atmosphere and infrastructure but rather for the negative headlines that uncontrolled development by Chinese firms generated in the last five years. Building collapsing, killings through mafia and triads in town and finally the ban on online gambling put Sihanoukville under the spotlight most of 2019.
Is it now a time for change? According to the Phnom Penh Post. two Chinese firms are to invest more than $1.5 billion in hotel developments and commercial centres, following approval by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), the authority which acts as the Kingdom’s investment agency.
CDC said Xin Da Shi Jie International Hotel Co Ltd is to build a 1,500-room five-star hotel in Sihanoukville, with capital investment of $331.5 million. A second project will see BOCC Development Co Ltd developing a commercial centre, a 1,600-room five-star hotel and a four-star serviced hotel apartment on Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island, with capital investment of $1.181 billion, it added.
Combined, the projects are anticipated to create some 8,879 new jobs.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Sochet Kresna said it was unlikely the province would again face a lack of accommodation, but he predicted that there could be a shortage of hotel rooms as infrastructure improved. “At the moment, the demand for hotel rooms in Preah Sihanouk province is not a major problem, but it could be shortly, especially for international tourists. I am really pleased that Preah Sihanouk province has received this investment for a five-star hotel,” Sochet Kresna said to the Phnom Penh Post.
The head of tourism hopes that the arrival of the five-star hotel would not only attract high-income tourists, but also potential new investments, he added.
Association of Travel Agents of Cambodia president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that while lower-tiered hotels below three-star were easier to book than before, higher-end hotels above four-star were struggling to meet demand. She added that while five-star establishments in Phnom Penh may be overbooked, the same was not true of Preah Sihanouk province.
“I want to see more high-standard options in the hotel industry in Cambodia to satisfy tourists,” Sivlin said to the newspaper.
According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, over 408,000 international arrivals were recorded at Sihanoukville airport from January to July 2019, an increase of 362.5% over the same period of 2018. The coastal area registered over 696,000 international arrivals, up by 32%.
(Source: the Phnom Penh Post)