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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sokimex breaks ground on luxury hotel in S'ville

Sokimex breaks ground on luxury hotel in S'ville

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New resort complex to target high-end visitors to seaside town

NGUON SOVAN

Once quiet Ochheuteal beach, pictured here, is set to be transformed by the latest luxury hotel, as depicted in this artist’s rendition on the site.

THE Sokha Hotel Co broke ground Wednesday on 500-room luxury hotel to be built on Sihanoukville's Ochheuteal beach as the demand for high-end accommodations in the seaside town increases.

Company CEO Bobby Toh said that the hotel, which is expected to open in 2010, will provide some 1,200 new jobs and contribute to Sihanoukville's transformation from a once-sleepy backpacker haven to a top-shelf tourism attraction.

"The development will actively contribute to improving the local economy, tourism infrastructure and facilities, as well as creating new job opportunities for Cambodians," Toh said.

He added that the company plans to expand the size of the hotel as demand for more facilities increases.

Sok Kong, executive chairman of Sokimex and the Sokha Hotel Co, told the Post that the beaches in front of the US$50 million  hotel will remain public.

"We will never ban the public from playing on the beach when the hotel is finished, and we will not charge a fee for people to use the beach," he said.

Sihanoukville is the anchor of a coastal development plan that is hoped to make the seaside a key tourist destination.

Tourism ministry officials say that while the city has enough accommodations for budget travellers, it is facing a shortage of about 1,500 high-end hotel rooms. "The hotel investment is a right decision," said Sam Prumnear, secretary of state with the Tourism Ministry.

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