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Japanese invest in tourist port

Japanese invest in tourist port

New $4m port will cater to cruise ships

A JAPANESE company is investing US$4 million to develop a tourist port in Kep province, the provincial tourism chief said Thursday.

Rotong Development Group is behind the deal that would allow Kep to receive cruise ships and link the town to Phu Quoc island in Vietnam, provincial authorities said.

A ferry capable of accommodating 220 passengers would operate under the first phase of the project.

"The master plan for the port development has been given the green light from Prime Minister Hun Sen already," said Chhay Khoeun from the provincial tourism authority.

He said that the development would help attract visitors from Phu Quoc island.

The official added that the port will be built at a new location, rather than as an upgrade of existing facilities.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the development will begin soon and would "only take six months to complete".

Travel between Phu Quoc and Kep takes only 90 minutes, he said, adding that Phu Quoc has become a popular destination for tourists in the region and could draw around 3 million visitors per year by 2012.

According to provincial tourism statistics, in the first quarter of this year the number of foreign tourists to the province increased 10 percent to 1,231, and local tourists increased 2 percent to 76,813.

The province has only five hotels and about 10 guest houses.

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