The government has approved Maritime City Co Ltd’s proposal to build and operate a $164.4 million development in Preah Sihanouk province comprising a 582-room five-star hotel, a commercial centre and entertainment facilities.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) confirmed the decision in a November 28 statement, which noted that the project is planned for Village 2, Commune III, Sihanoukville and is expected to create 1,455 jobs.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesman Kheang Phearum told The Post on November 29 that the multi-million dollar investment project reflects investor confidence in the province’s potential, not just as a tourist destination, but also a place of business and commerce.

“We welcome the investment in and business of the five-star hotel in Preah Sihanouk. On behalf of the provincial administration, we would like to voice support for this project.

“This project is a positive sign for the province, now that the government has reopened socio-economic activities after the Covid-19 crisis. At the same time, we welcome potential investors to invest in our province in any areas,” he said.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said Preah Sihanouk’s tourism potential requires local officials, and other relevant authorities, to focus on promotion, along with ensuring order and safety for visitors and that prices for the pertinent services are reasonable.

“Every new investment is good for Cambodia, but what’s more important are broader efforts concerning public order, the service fees and the promotion of tourism destinations.

“Preah Sihanouk currently has loads of modern hotels, but the number of tourists does not yet match that, so we call for more advertising to attract more tourists,” he said.

One such example is the Huan Hai Bo Lai International Investment Co Ltd’s planned $168 million 957-room five-star hotel that is set to be located in Village 4, Commune IV, Sihanoukville and generate a reported 955 new jobs. The CDC said it greenlit this project in a November 25 statement.

Meanwhile, Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Sochet Kresna told The Post that the coastal province’s recent infrastructure developments, including the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, have been “very positive” for tourism.

“As we all know, Preah Sihanouk is one of our main tourist destinations. We need this five-star luxury hotel, because we can attract more Western tourists, and we expect more flights from other destinations soon,” he said.

According to Sochet Krisna, there are currently more than 80 hotels in the province comprising over 9,000 rooms, of which there are eight four- or five-star hotels with about 5,000 rooms.