The Koh Kong Provincial Administration has agreed in-principle to allow “Anco Import Export” to invest in a “model multi-purpose project” on a 61.4596sq km plot in Botum Sakor National Park across the province’s southwestern districts of Botum Sakor and Kiri Sakor.

The administration argued that the new venture would create jobs for locals and attract more national and international investors to the coastal province.

Koh Kong provincial deputy governor Ouk Pheaktra told The Post on December 30 that both districts, the administration and the Ministry of Environment all fully consented to the project following a December 29 site inspection, but noted that the development would still require the approval of the Royal Government.

For now, the company must adhere to the provisional conditions for the project set out by the provincial administration, he noted.

While unable to provide a concrete timeframe for construction or projected cost estimates, Pheaktra mentioned that the undertaking would involve, among a host of other facilities, at least one five-star hotel, and other recreational and tourist amenities that supposedly cater to both national and international travellers.

“The project will boost the national economy, with locals standing to benefit as well. We won’t harp on whether the investor is foreign or local, so long as the investment actually takes place, it can be viewed a success for the province, and could help with development,” he said.

He pointed out that other major projects are underway in the area, including the 4E-class Dara Sakor airport, a deep-sea port and national roads 10 and 48.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan welcomed the multi-purpose project.

Koh Kong needs “all kinds of investment”, he said, underlining that the province has time and again been ranked as among Cambodia’s poorest.

Investors have by and large been hesitant to become involved in the province, due to insufficient electricity supply and a raft of other inconveniences, he lamented.

“I am truly elated to see progress in Koh Kong and the entry of such an investment project, considering that the province is one of the poorest – despite not being as remote as Mondulkiri – and has historically been invisible on the development agenda. This province has great potential,” Sinan enthused.

He hailed the province as the Kingdom’s most “beautiful”, the richest in natural resources, and an overall desirable travel destination.

He expects the Royal Government to tailor an approach to dismantling the most glaring obstacles that prevent investment into Koh Kong, so as to foster further development in all sectors, provide a boost to the national economy, and improve local prospects for prosperous livelihoods.