Koh Kong will welcome seven new eco-tourism sites aimed to attract more foreign and local tourists to the Kingdom’s second largest coastal province, according to provincial Department of Environment director Man Phala.
He told The Post on December 22 that the Ministry of Environment and provincial authorities had conducted on-site inspections of the seven small-scale natural tourism investment projects in Botum Sakor and Mondul Seima districts the day before.
Involved in the inspections were ministry secretary of state Srun Darith and deputy provincial governor Ouk Pheaktra.
The projects will provide a lot of income for locals, but environmental considerations are also important, Phala said, adding that the inspection was also to assess whether the sites are in line with the investors’ investment plans.
He said: “After the review is done, we will reach out to the management to review and approve, in order to respond to the request of investors.”
Phala defined “small-scale ecotourism investment projects” as those linked with nature and on an area not exceeding 10ha.
While the world experiences the hardest times amid the epidemic, Koh Kong Provincial Hall spokesman Sok Sothy noted that the province’s coastal location and the rich diversity of its natural resources made it a steady magnet for investment projects in all localities.
“Since Koh Kong is an ecotourism hub, the growth in such investment requests has been steadily increasing,” he said, adding that the seven projects are the ventures of local investors.
Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak said he welcomes all legal investment projects, which he said helps increase the Kingdom’s attractiveness to domestic and foreign tourists.
While he could not provided any details about the projects, he said they were in the environmental inspection process and hinted that at least some may lie in protected areas.
“The Ministry of Tourism always supports all tourism investment projects that are allowed by law, because all tourism development projects increase employment opportunities and national economic growth,” Sopheak said.
There are four tourism communities, three resorts and three boat transport companies based in the province, according to the provincial Department of Tourism.
The province welcomed 328,662 visitors last year, marking a 25 per cent surge from 2018.