An artist’s impression of KNN Cambodia Co’s US$10 million Dream Parkto be built in Phnom Penh. The amusement park is slated to open next March. Photo by: Photo Supplied
KNN Cambodia Co will open the Kingdom’s first major amusement park next March, according to founder and managing director Khunnath Cheam.
Construction has begun on the US$10 million-plus Dream Park project – solely funded by KNN – located on the vacant block opposite Phnom Penh’s only casino Nagaworld.
Khunnath Cheam acknowledged he was taking a risk as sole investor, but said the improved domestic economy and lack of competition augured well for the future of the theme park.
“I could see the economy in Cambodia was developing more every day, so people have more money. And when they have money, they will spend more to eat better food and have better amusement,” he said.
“I don’t see any amusement parks in Cambodia … So I thought, if I launch this business I think I could make a good business from this one,” he said.
KNN has a five-year lease, starting March this year, on the privately-owned land. Khunnath Cheam said he hoped to recover his investment within two years of the park opening.
The firm already has four other ventures: its core business of selling second-hand machinery, another business selling Khmer handicrafts, a clothing and textiles line, and a small money transfer business.
“[It] is totally different to what I have been trading. In my [main business] there is more competition,” he said.
Dream Park’s rides were purchased from Europe with the construction of each to be overseen by the European company’s recommended engineer, he claimed, adding it was an important factor to ensure safety.
“We are really concentrating on the rides,” he said, adding he sourced the four main rides from Europe at a cost of more than 3 million euro (US$3.97 million). “We want them to be international standard.”
The park plan features major rides such as a tower drop and a pirate ship, as well as a roller-skating rink, an indoor playground and a giant Ferris Wheel. A go-kart track was still under negotiation, he said.
Some 200 stalls would be set up in the park, available for rent at a flat rate of $200 per month for businesses to sell anything from accessories and souvenirs, to food and beverages.
A strip of restaurants and cafes was being built facing the river. They will have two entrances - both externally to the riverside and internally to the park - to maximise traffic.
Susi Tan, the project director for Diamond Island’s developer Overseas Cambodia Investment Cooperation, said yesterday it remained to be seen what the competitive impact of the new park would be on Diamond Island’s businesses, given the close proximity.
“It might have a negative impact, or it might have a positive impact,” she said, adding the projects were catering for quite different tastes.
“I think we have a different style from each other. “