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Koh Kong aims to develop province’s coastal islands

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A general view of the village in Koh Sdach island in Kiri Sakor district’s Koh Sdech commune, Koh Kong province. KOH KONG TOURISM DEPARTMENT

Koh Kong aims to develop province’s coastal islands

Koh Kong provincial authorities are compiling detailed data on the 23 islands in the province to facilitate the development of them as the number of tourists is on the increase and businesses continue to show interest in investing heavily in the islands.

Provincial deputy governor Ouk Pheaktra chaired a meeting on November 25 to compile a report with detailed data on Koh Kong’s islands with the participation of officials from relevant departments and units in the province.

He laid out some follow-up plans for each officer and unit so that they can assign staff to inspect and collect the data for each island including up to date geographical surveys and taking images and videos to promote tourism and attract investors.

He ordered the provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, Construction and Cadastral Affairs to ensure that the officials doing the island border demarcations have DGPS.

Pheaktra said the detailed schedule for visiting each island will be determined later.

Heang Bonna, office head of the provincial cadastral affairs department, said on November 28 that the team will hold another meeting with relevant officials to determine who will travel to the islands and collect the necessary data.

“Currently there’s interest in Pineapple Island and Koh Smach and there are investment companies looking at other islands. As long as the islands are big enough there will be some investment companies interested in them like Koh Kong Krao,” he said.

Koh Kong Krao is an island in the Gulf of Thailand in the coastal waters of Cambodia around 10km south of Koh Kong town in Koh Kong province. It is Cambodia’s largest island.

He added that according to preliminary data, out of the total of 23 islands in the province, the only one where the government has granted a licence to a private investment company is Koh Sdach.

“Most of the 23 islands have populated areas. Unlike Koh Sdach – which is densely populated – they typically have just a few populated areas but with many families there. But there is room to develop them into tourist destinations,” he said.

He said that if there are investors who want to develop businesses on the islands they have to rent the land from the government and they have to comply with the arbitration or mediation policies when dealing with the residents of the islands.

Bonna said the islands have to be arranged as the provincial authorities observed that after the government announced the reopening of the country, many tourists travelled to visit the islands in Koh Kong province. The construction and land sectors in the province continued their activities normally before and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ho Vandy, co-chair of the Public-Private Sector Working Group on tourism, said the preparation of the master plan was very good to attract both domestic and foreign tourists.

“In this case, we prepare a clear master plan and data, and providing information to the public as well as tourists as well as those who earn a living in the sector has brought a lot of benefits to their areas,” he said

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