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An artist’s impression of the new look earmarked for a Sihanoukville beach. FACEBOOK

Beach makeover has cultural significance

The National Committee for Beach Management and Development, having been appointed by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) to manage a re-development project of Sihanoukville’s beaches, has revealed early-stage plans for the makeover, which will involve constructing several gates for the various beaches in order to attract more local and international tourists.

In an interview with Post Property this week, MLMUPC’s head of finance and administration, Ong Sothearith, said the first step the committee and the ministry have for planning the construction of the gates was that, “there will be at least 16 gates for certain beaches in Sihanoukville, starting with eight at Ochheuteal beach, four at Ekreach beach, seven at Otres beach, and several others at other beaches”.

Sothearith added, “Each gate will have an engraving of the beach’s name, the donor, and the architect. Every gate will have Khmer designs to showcase our nation’s culture and also to decorate on top of the beauty of the Cambodian beach”.

Both national and international tourists know that Cambodian beaches, especially those in Sihanoukville, are great for a relaxing holiday, while Angkor Wat in Siem Reap caters to those who want a cultural vacation. “This is why [MLMUPC] minister Chea Sophara wants to connect these beautiful beaches to our ancestors’ valuable resources,” said Sothearith.

“I believe that after the construction of these gates, the beauty and value of the beaches will rise and this will definitely attract more tourists to the region.”

Nuon Pok, director at Sihanoukville’s department of land management, said, “The gates construction project includes building several parks at many places, including Otres beach.”

MLMUPC spokesman Seng Lot, who was interviewed by The Phnom Penh Post on Monday, said that the team had already finished two big blueprints and will start to build according to these blueprints to develop the beaches and attract more visitors before developing the other ones.

“Our first destination is Sihanoukville then other beaches because there are four coasts in Cambodia which are Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong and Sihanoukville,” he said.

Both Lot and Sothearith stated that like the ministry, they do not know the cost of the construction because the ministry only issued the blueprints and the technical details, before passing the documents to donors who are interested in contributing, after which they will go through inspections by The National Committee for Beach Management and Development.

The ministry and the donors will set the beginning and the finishing dates of the construction at a later date. The ministry will accept both national and international donors, including families, companies, or organisations, which will lead to the respective donors’ names being engraved near the gate.

Ang Kim Eang, president of Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, expressed his optimism on the development.

“This project will be a major attraction to both Cambodia’s beach and cultural tourism. Naturally, people remember people, animals, or an object by the name, distinguishable traits, and value. This project includes the beaches’ names being engraved into each gate and the involvement of Khmer artistic designs. It is truly amazing,” he said.

“Personally, I think the ministry should briefly describe the project’s costs because this will make the search for donors more convenient,” Kim Eang added.

Additional reporting by Pech Sotheary

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