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Floating eco-tourism port set for northern Preah Sihanouk

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Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun (back, left) travels north along the Prek Kampong Smach canal to inspect the site for the planned floating eco-tourism port, in the northern reaches of the province. PREAH SIHANOUK PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION

Floating eco-tourism port set for northern Preah Sihanouk

A new floating eco-tourism port is in the pipeline for northern Preah Sihanouk province’s Trapaing Kea village, on the Prek Kampong Smach canal upstream from Veal Rinh Bay, according to provincial authorities.

In expectation of a marked upswing in national and international tourists in the near future as Covid lets up, provincial officials have welcomed the new private sector investment, saying it could emerge as a popular attraction, in the eastern part of Choeung Kor commune, of northern Prey Nop district.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesman Kheang Phearum told The Post on December 15 that tycoon Tea Vichet’s GTVC company was behind the port, and had put in an investment request after securing a 50ha plot of farmland next to the natural canal in the protected Prek Kampong Smach area.

A firm supporter of the project, provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun has inspected the proposed site, Phearum said, adding that the company was currently working out the size and most of the specifics of the port, and would soon report the expected costs of construction and other preparations.

The spokesman explained that the provincial administration sends a working group to make practical assessments of each investment project proposal before giving the green light to start construction.

However, he stressed that the project’s location on the protected canal was an additional consideration during the approval process, but affirmed that as a floating port, it would have minimal environmental impact.

“The company is responsible for conducting the feasibility study and will take care of the entire cost of construction and landscaping in the area,” Phearum said.

During the inspection on December 14, the provincial governor said the port would provide many benefits to the tourism sector, and enable local fishing communities to contribute to the protection and conservation of flooded forests in the area.

Chamroeun said: “The establishment of this tourist port is beneficial to the economy of Preah Sihanouk and provides jobs for people in the community. Of note, the local community can sell aquaculture and fishery products, and other agricultural goods to tourists.

“The port can also be used to transport tourists to visit the flooded forest area along the canal.”

The provincial governor said he suggested Vichet go over the construction techniques to be used, with serious consideration so as to minimise the project’s impact on natural resources.

Although The Post could not reach Tea Vichet for comment on December 15, the provincial administration reported a day earlier that the port would only accommodate smaller boats and would not obstruct the flow of water in the Kampong Smach canal.

The administration also underlined that the project could attract more national and international tourists to the area, a view echoed by Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Sochet Kresna.

Sochet Kresna told The Post on December 15 that the port could encourage visitors to stay in the area for many days, adding that this would also be true of many more projects to come as the province transforms into a multi-purpose special economic zone.

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