The Ministry of Tourism is drafting a master plan for the development of Kep province into a high-end, eco-tourism destination, identifying four major sites and 251 development projects.
Tourism minister Thong Khon presided over a meeting on January 14 to discuss proposals for inclusion in the strategic plan.
During the meeting, Ny Phally – ministry undersecretary of state and director of the secretariat of the inter-ministerial commission – announced that the four primary development areas were Kep town, Ankol beach, the Phnom Vore region, and the province’s archipelago.
Phally said the master plan provides for improvements of the existing Kep beach and development of Angkol beach as a new tourist site.
“Apart from improving these coastal areas, there are many other development projects, including expansion of international sports facilities, construction of a tourist-oriented war museum and organisation of visits to the 13 islands which are rich in biodiversity like corals, sea dolphins, dugong, fish and many other rare species,” he said.
Phally said the master plan will also turn the Sre Ambel salt-field area into an agro-tourism destination with the establishment of a museum introducing the local salt production chain.
He said: “We will also establish minimart, night market and food street, connect waterway tourism from the international port in Kampot [province] to Kep and arrange festivals and other events.”
The inter-ministerial commission outlined nine key strategies in its draft master plan, Phally said.
These strategies include the development of tourism resources in Kep town, investment in development of tourism travel corridors and improving the quality and safety of tourism in the region.
Additionally, provisions aim to develop local human resources for the tourist industry and implement marketing and promotion. Strategies will be created to manage and support tourism development, strengthen supply chains, innovate solutions and strengthen governance for the monitoring and evaluation of progress.
Minister Thong Khon said the commission seeks to make Kep an attractive and competitive luxury destination for regional and international travellers.
He said: “The master plan for the development of tourism in Kep is an important strategic document that can promote tourism in Kep and help restore the industry, during and after the Covid-19 crisis.”
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin described Kep as one of the country’s potential coastal destinations. Development of the province will create new tourism products, making it more attractive to domestic and international tourists when the pandemic subsides.
“Kep is a rich natural tourist destination with Preng Stream, seafood, salt marshes and mountains. I believe it has great potential to attract tourists,” she said.
Sivlin hopes that the plan to develop Kep into a tourist destination will help revive Cambodia’s tourism sector which, like its counterparts around the world, has been decimated by policy responses to Covid-19.
“I welcome the ministry’s plan for development of this province, which will contribute to promoting tourism in Cambodia in the future. We have not yet used this province to its full potential. With further development, we will attract tourists to stay here longer,” she said.
According to the tourism ministry, meeting participants agreed to review the draft master plan in March before submitting it to the National Committee for Tourism Development.