Local company Rice Natural Development Plc announced a $50 million joint venture with British and Singaporean investors on Tuesday to develop a coastal tourism hub in Preah Sihanouk province.

The project, which will be built on 1.8ha, will include a tourist port comprised of 10 yachts for tourist transport, two five-storey hotels with 200 rooms, 35 bungalow units and numerous retail shops.

Company chairman Ros Sovann Veasna told The Post that it had submitted development plans to the Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities for approval.

Noting the rise of Chinese visitors to Sihanoukville and decline of other international tourists, Sovann Veasna said: “This project will be made especially for the entertainment of local and European tourists so it will not be close to Chinese development projects.

“In Preah Sihanouk province, there are many islands with beautiful scenery and environments, but getting to the islands has never been straightforward. This is why I, along with my foreign partners, are interested in building a tourist port for yachts,” he said.

He did not reveal the project’s location, claiming that disclosure could lead to higher property prices in the area.

Provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun, who met with the company’s leaders on Monday, said he welcomed the plan but told it to further assess the project’s environmental impact with the provincial Department of Tourism.

The department’s director Taing Sochet Kresna said the project is located in the Ream area. As construction plans are not clear, he said, the authorities asked the firm to resubmit more detailed plans to avoid problems during construction.

“I am reviewing the project and we have told the company to plan some of it again,” he said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Hor Vandy said with the gradual growth in the number of tourists, the Kingdom needs to focus on developing new projects that comply with environmental regulations.

“New development is good news for the tourism sector, but if insufficient focus is given to environmental impact, it will endanger it instead,” he said.