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Kingdom stops plans for Naga’s integrated resort

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Tourists visited Angkor Wat temple in Siem reap province in 2019. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Kingdom stops plans for Naga’s integrated resort

Cambodia put a halt to plans for a $350 million non-gaming integrated resort (IR) in Siem Reap province dubbed “Angkor Lake of Wonder” (ALOW), to be developed by Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp Ltd (Naga), the parent company of local casino operator NagaWorld Ltd.

Naga had announced plans on November 15 to develop the IR – an industry term used to describe a large-scale resort complex that comprises tourism and conference amenities and often features casinos and other gaming facilities.

After discussion at the 27th Plenary Session of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC-Angkor) on January 27 and two subsequent special sessions on February 22 and March 4, a team at ICC-Angkor found that ALOW “cannot be implemented in this context”, according to an announcement form the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts on March 23.

The ministry did not elaborate, but noted that it “shares the views of ICC-Angkor”.

According to Naga, the IR was planned be built with a 50-year lease on 75ha about 500m south of the “outer restricted zone of the world-famous Angkor Wat”.

Scheduled to be completed by 2025, its blueprints were being prepared by two US-based architectural firms Steelman Partners LLC and Gensler and Associates International Ltd, it said in November.

It added that ALOW would comprise hotels, a water theme park, an indoor hi-tech theme park, a non-motorised boating canal system, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) facilities, cultural attractions, a food street and more.

Master planning was based on the concept of generating as much fun and play as possible in the IR, it said, adding that development will focus on incorporating elements of, inter alia, technology, edutainment, ecology and culture.

It unveiled plans for a road linking AWOL with Angkor Wat, in what it said was “to promote the concept of NagaWorld and Angkor Wat as the twin tourism icons of Cambodia”.

According to Siem Reap Provincial Administration director Sun Chamnan, AWOL would be located in Siem Reap town’s Slakram commune.

NagaCorp owns Phnom Penh’s only licensed casino, NagaWorld, and is currently developing its $4 billion Naga 3 project on the site of the former “White Building” in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune.

On the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, NagaCorp’s (3918:HK) share price dipped HK$0.22 or 2.28 per cent to close at HK$9.44 on March 23 for a market capitalisation of HK$40.98 billion, with 2.79 million shares traded.

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