Kampot officials are looking to the Bokor Mountain Resort, a US$1 billion project that opens today, to drive tourism growth in the burgeoning seaside destination.
The provincial Tourism Department said the number of domestic visitors to Kampot had risen 120 per cent to 338,000 in the first four months of this year, but the local government expects that figure to increase significantly now the casino complex is operating.
“I think that after the official opening, it will be a top tourism attraction,” Kampot Tourism Department director Soy Sinol said yesterday.
Kampot governor Khoy Khun Huor echoed those sentiments, claiming the resort’s soft launch in late March had been well received and numbers would continue to rise.
“Before [today] we just opened for occasional ceremonies, and there were a considerable numbers of guests,” Khoy Khun Huor said.
“So now that we’re open regularly, we expect those numbers will continue to rise.”
The resort would also create much-needed jobs in the province, Khoy Khun Huor added.
As well as the casino, the project will include a 700-room, 18-storey, five-star hotel, along with conference rooms, bars, wedding facilities and two Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses.
Hundreds of houses and villas were expected to dot the mountain by the time the project was completed in about 15 years, the Post reported at the time.
Vietnamese-owned BIDC provided financing for the hotel, as well as for Sokha’s Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville projects.
Thansur Bokor Highland Resort chief executive Dr Ngin Banal said yesterday that so far, Cambodian tourists had outnumbered foreign visitors to the mountain getaway. He assumed that trend would continue going forward.
“For the future market, local guests will lead the numbers compared with international guests,” Ngin Banal said.
In March, he told the Post the resort’s primary target was the greater Mekong region, including Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, with southern China and Korea serving as secondary markets.
The number of international visitors to Kampot jumped 29 per cent year-on-year in the first four months of 2012 to 9,000 from 7,000 the year before, statistics show.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]