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Research: Underwater tourism overflowing with opportunities

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The 440km Cambodian coastline – along the provinces of Koh Kong, Kampot, Kep and especially Preah Sihanouk – and the shores of its islands, boast an extensive marine biodiversity. Hean Rangsey

Research: Underwater tourism overflowing with opportunities

An ocean of exciting blue investment opportunities is just waiting to be uncovered along the Kingdom’s coastal areas, a brief study conducted by the Ministry of Tourism’s General Department of Tourism Industry indicated.

And a vital component of underwater tourism is scuba diving, which offers a multitude of lucrative options, explains Kunthea Phirum, a local tourism promotion bureau chief and the main author of the study.

The 440km Cambodian coastline – along the provinces of Koh Kong, Kampot, Kep and especially Preah Sihanouk – and the shores of its islands, boast an extensive marine biodiversity that includes gorgeous coral and a variety of colourful fish and other sea life, he said.

He hinted that, as pent-up leisure demand comes roaring back, a surge in holidaymakers travelling to the beaches in pursuit of that memorable scuba diving experience would also provide a valuable boon for the lodging industry.

But he cautioned that scuba diving requires the use of sophisticated, specialised equipment, ample preparation, physical skills and technical training, as well as an extensive knowledge of safety and rescue procedures and management, and having effective safeguards in place.

He stressed that divers must use the appropriate gear to ensure adequate oxygen delivery to active muscles and other organs. “Tourists who want to try diving will need to have a certificate of participation provided by a course that is recognised by an official training centre,” Phirum said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that there are a host of islands yet untouched by development that are rich in marine biodiversity.

These are ripe with potential for seabed tourism, and they serve as attractive destinations for more adventurous travellers, she stressed.

“If we nurture and develop underwater tourism, it could shape up to be an attractive new market, given the range of beautiful beaches we already have,” Sivlin said.

“We welcome investment in seabed tourism in Cambodia.”

Phirum noted that more research remains to be done on topics such as identifying and characterising patterns of differing tastes in underwater activities across national and international visitors, to better orient the sector to cater to specific markets.

Also up for study at some point will be the revenue that could be generated from seabed tourism businesses, job creation trends, and potential incentives, he said.

“There has yet to be an illustrative and comprehensive research study on seabed tourism in Cambodia,” he said, remarking that the sector is a welcome addition to the Cambodian tourism scene that deserves to be made more well-known.

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