Cambodia will embark on developing a billion-dollar eco-tourism park on a 114-hectare land in Preah Vihear. It will use Japanese technology.
The Royal Academy Cambodia (RAC) inked a deal with Japanese company BM Nature Safari Co Ltd on Saturday to develop the RAC Techo Sen Russey Trep Park, which was approved since 2014 under a royal decree.
In order to execute the project, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between RAC president Sok Touch and Nature Safari president Kinoshita Sori, who said the company will share its technological expertise for the project.
Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, Touch said the project will help spur the country’s tourism sector. The park, he said, will primarily focus on promoting natural, cultural and general tourism.
He also assured that the project will not endanger the environment.
“I promise not to change this area into a desert and will do my utmost during my management. We will not cause any problem because we will have a law. Those who destroy this area will be condemned by the people.
“They are intellectuals and do not destroy the nation, but instead do everything for the society,” Touch said, adding that Nature Safari will not be permitted to destroy the environment.
“If you [Nature Safari] destroy the area, I am here to fire you immediately. I vow to Cambodians and to the government that I will turn this park into a beautiful place,” he said.
Developers are not only turning the park into a major tourism spot to woo visitors but also planning to provide a livelihood for people in the vicinity once the park is ready.
He said the local people will benefit from the development by selling agricultural products to visitors, engaging in cattle farming and selling its milk.
There are plans to breed 100 cows and build a milk production plant in the area, he said.
Preah Vihear environment department acting director Song Socheat declined to comment on the proposed project saying the park was completely under Touch’s purview.
Touch said at present there were some encroachments in the area by a mining company and local people, illegal poaching and fires in the area.
He said he needs at least six months to explain the project to the community to avoid any conflict with locals in the area. They can collect forestry products but logging and poaching are not allowed anymore.
“They cannot log and poach in this area. If we arrest them, we will punish and beat them up. We will enact such a law.
“It sounds violent, but if we are not strict, no one will respect the law. In Japan, they cut the thumb and in Singapore, they whip 30 times those who spit in public,” Touch claimed.