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Hotel collapse ‘won’t hurt’ tourism

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Rescue workers use earthmovers to clear debris as they search for victims a day after an under-construction building collapsed in Sihanoukville on Sunday. SUN RETHY KUN/AFP

Hotel collapse ‘won’t hurt’ tourism

Last week’s collapse of a seven-storey Chinese-owned hotel project in Sihanoukville will not have a negative impact on the country’s coastal tourism, industry insiders said.

Preah Sihanouk province is widely known as a place where high-rises are rapidly emerging, especially hotels, casinos, commercial centres, condos and apartments – most of which are Chinese investment projects.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on Monday that the collapse of the Sihanoukville hotel building last week would not hurt the confidence of foreign tourists who want to travel to the province.

He said the Ministry of Tourism is working hard to attract more foreign tourists to travel for pleasure in Cambodia.

“I think that the collapse of the would-be hotel building does not impact the confidence of foreign tourists, especially the Chinese, because it was only a construction accident,” he said.

However, he said the ministry urges all stakeholders to be more concerned about the quality of construction projects to further boost consumer trust.

Pacific Asia Travel Association president Thourn Sinan echoed Sopheak’s comments.

“It will not affect the tourism sector in Cambodia, especially in Preah Sihanouk province,” he said, adding that the incident can be attributed to a lack of government oversight and accountability.

However, all major cities in the world which have developed as strongly as Sihanoukville always have these problems and a lack of law enforcement, he said.

The Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Hor Vandy said the incident will have a psychological impact on tourists, especially Chinese tourists – who have a large presence in Preah Sihanouk province.

“A fear of staying in short- and long-term residencies has definitely been instilled in tourists and other visitors,” Vandy said.

He said the incident was caused by the negligence of investors and a lack of attention from the authorities to control the quality of construction projects.

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