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Having recently undergone renovation, the Knai Bang Chatt resort features many environmentally and ecologically friendly elements. Hong Menea

Kep primed for additional eco-tourism development

Kep, the smallest province in Cambodia, is full of natural resources and is rich in cultural history. It is also the perfect place to develop an eco-tourism hub.

Kep provincial governor Ken Satha told Post Property recently that Kep’s pristine natural beauty makes it very suitable for eco-tourism development.

“We are in the stage of working out a master plan project for our province’s development which will emphasise eco-tourism,” he said.

“Although we haven’t got an official agreement from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, we are still progressing our master plan to develop more infrastructure [in Kep].”

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A natural pond is one of the features in the luxury resort. Hong Menea

Speaking with confidence, Satha said the vision for Kep’s future is one which will focus on a green city.

“We will not allow factories to invest in this green province to avoid pollution in this location,” he added.

Eco-tourism, which places importance on sustainable travel, is gaining momentum across the tourism industry as a way of preserving cultures and biodiversity.

With Kep continuing to draw a large number of local and foreign visitors, Satha said it was important to preserve the area’s natural tourist sites as well as enhance the area’s sustainability by developing eco-tourism projects such as an eco-park.

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Jef Moons, CEO of Knai Bang Chatt, is passionate about eco-tourism. Hong Menea

According to Jef Moons, CEO of Kep province’s luxury resort Knai Bang Chatt, Kep is one of coastal Cambodia’s most authentic areas.

“We love Kep for its quietness, privacy and architecture so we came to settle here in 2006,” he said.

In 2016, Knai Bang Chatt was officially the first Cambodia hotel cum resort to receive the Green Growth 2050 certification. The Growth 2050 Global Standard certification program, which the resort is enrolled in, consists of 37 criteria and more than 400 indicators on all aspects of sustainability and social responsibility.

Moons said the resort, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, was hoping to soon establish a Marine National Park in Kep.

Moons also noted that while it was important to encourage further investment and development in Kep, he warned that Kep should not become a copy of Sihanoukville. He added that the government needed to continue to work with the private sector to preserve Kep National Park and the marine life.

“I feel the local authorities are on the right track in terms of protecting the history of Kep,” he said.

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Plants are grown hydroponically in Knai Bang Chatt. Hong Menea

Sovan Pilong, owner of Brise de Kep Boutique guesthouse in Kep, said its quiet and relaxing nature was a breath of fresh air compared to other coastal areas in Cambodia, and believes Kep has further potential to become an eco-tourism precinct.

“I always encourage other investors to come to Kep,” he said.

“It is possible to make Kep more of an eco-tourism spot because there are so many natural places to explore such as the salt fields, mountains, natural ponds, national parks and other hidden places.”

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