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Sihanoukville aims to reform tourism landscape

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Preah Sihanouk province plans to attract a new type of Chinese investor which could restore the image of Sihanoukville as a tourist city and shift investment away from casinos. Heng Chivoan

Sihanoukville aims to reform tourism landscape

Preah Sihanouk province plans to attract a new type of Chinese investor which could restore the image of Sihanoukville as a tourist city and shift investment away from casinos.

In a meeting with Chinese embassy officials in August, provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun said the current closure of online gaming businesses will have a short-term impact on the local economy, in both the real estate and employment sectors.

“Those who are working in the [online] gaming industry will be unemployed, followed by workers in the construction sector, who have been laid off from their jobs,” he said.

However, he said, the Chinese side will help attract new investors from China to the province to bring the situation under control.

“The Chinese embassy will soon prepare for groups of businessmen to go to Preah Sihanouk province and invest in other areas, creating sustainable jobs,” he said.

Chamroeun said most of the construction projects in the province are currently suspended, which has created a crisis in the province.

“[We] hope that the ambassador will encourage more Chinese companies to invest in beachfront resort projects.

“We need more tourism investment. The embassy will support the construction projects that will provide stability to those that have already been built,” he said.

The construction sector in the province has been affected by the government’s recent measures to ensure construction quality and standards.

The regulations came following the collapse of a seven-storey building that left many workers dead and injured.

However, Chamroeun said while most large buildings in the province are owned by large companies which follow standards, most medium and small constructions are built without proper authorisation.

Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum told The Post on Tuesday that the province has recently received three new Chinese investment projects worth more than $100 million.

The projects include a five-star hotel, a leather processing plant and a feed mill, he said. “China has promised to attract good investors in non-casinos areas to come and invest more in the Kingdom.”

Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA) president Chrek Soknim said attracting new investors outside the casino sector may be a positive move that will bring long-term investments which will not cause concerns for society.

“Long-term investments will not only create stable jobs for skilled workers but also stabilise the national economy. The real estate sector will maintain positive growth as the economy continues to improve,” he said.

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