Prime Minister Hun Sen, Alexander Trofimov, left, and Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, right, with Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon, sign the agreement in Siem Reap on September 25 for the 99-year lease of Sihanoukville's Hawaii Beach and Koh Pos.
T he government has leased the land of Koh Pos and Hawaii Beach in Sihanoukville to a Russia-based company to develop tourism projects for 99 years.
Youn Heng, deputy director of the evaluation and incentive department at the Council for the Development of Cambodia, said government officials signed the agreement with Koh Pos Investment Group Co Ltd (KPIG) in Siem Reap province on September 25.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh and Alexander Trofimov, chairman of KPIG, in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Heng said KPIG is the first large Russian company to invest in Cambodia and is expected to invest $300 million in the project. According to Trofimov, KPIG is a development conglomerate backed by a number of Russian investors.
"It is a huge investment," Heng said. "We spent three months in discussions before we decided to sign the agreement."
He said the company will take one year to study a master plan for Koh Pos, or Snake Island, and Hawaii Beach. The company has said it will build a hotel on Koh Pos and employ hundreds of locals.
After the signing ceremony, Trofimov said the company will build a bridge from Hawaii Beach to Koh Pos, where it will build a central hotel as well as guesthouses, parks and course for water skiing.
"We will develop Koh Pos to become the most beautiful tourism resort in Sihanoukville," Trofimov said. "Our firm has the rights to develop and manage Koh Pos."
Heng said the government previously granted the Koh Pos land to Malaysian firm Ariston for development, but cancelled the contract in 2005 after the area had remained undeveloped for nearly 10 years.
"The Russian firm has the will to develop the area and will attract more tourists from various countries to visit our country," Heng said. "We will get benefit for the government and the company."
Sihanoukville Governor Say Hak agreed that the development project of Koh Pos and Hawaii Beach will help bring more tourists to the area, and said local authorities are prepared to cooperate with the company on the project. With the planned opening of Kang Keng Airport in January 2007, it is expected that 10 percent of the foreigners coming to Cambodia will visit Sihanoukville.
Hak said Koh Pos, one kilometer off the coast from Sihanoukville, has no inhabitants and receives only occasional visits from local and foreign tourists who hire boats for fishing and recreation.
Thong Khon, secretary of state at Ministry of Tourism, told the Post previously that Sihanoukville is the second most popular tourism destination, after Siem Reap, and has many attractions for visitors. According to the government, Cambodia expects to receive approximately 2 million international visitors this year.