Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Private companies warned on beach access

Private companies warned on beach access

Tourists walk on a beach in Sihanoukville. The government has vowed to take action against companies that restrict public beach access in the Kingdom.
Tourists walk on a beach in Sihanoukville. The government has vowed to take action against companies that restrict public beach access in the Kingdom. Heng Chivoan

Private companies warned on beach access

The government has vowed to crack down on coastal hotels and resorts that have restricted public access to beaches or constructed illegal encroachments within 50 metres of the shoreline.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon warned yesterday that his ministry will give private companies a deadline to remove any fences or constructions that violate a government directive that ensures all beaches in the Kingdom remain public property.

“We’re talking about the area within 50 metres of the sea, which belongs to the public,” he said.

“This applies everywhere, including on islands and land claimed by hotels. We already have a directive, but it hasn’t been implemented.”

Khon said Cambodia’s coastal area is the country’s second-biggest tourism draw and the government and private sector must work together to manage its resources.

“If we don’t raise this issue now, it will affect our beach [development],” he said.

“And if we cannot control the area within 50 metres of the sea, how can we implement a management policy for our beaches?”

Several beaches along Cambodia’s coastline have been designated as private beaches by their adjacent resort and hotel owners.

However, staff at the Independence Hotel in Sihanoukvile denied that the hotel restricts public access to its beach, claiming that non-guests can request permission to use the beach.

The hotel’s management could not be reached yesterday for further comment.

Similarly, the Sokha Hotel on a quiet bay in Sihanoukville has fenced in its beach and charges an admission fee to non-guests, which includes the use of its pool.

According to Khon, this violates the public’s right to use the beach.

“The hotel built a fence around the beach, so we asked them to open the gate and we will build a path for people to access the beach,” he said.

Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the Tourism Ministry’s decision to enforce public beach access, saying he has been asking for it since 2006.

“We requested not to let private companies build encroachments on public beaches and the authorities should have the legal means to ensure that the public has access to the beach,” he said.

“But it depends on the law, and investors should know the law.”

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,