Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land marked in Siem Reap for "Bali-style" development

Land marked in Siem Reap for "Bali-style" development

Land marked in Siem Reap for "Bali-style" development

L AND has been put aside for a new "hotel district" in Siem Reap, modeled

on the Indonesian island of Bali.

The aim is have about seven high-class hotels built by the Year 2000, according to

Vann Moulyvann, vice-president of the new APSARA agency responsible for Siem Reap

tourism

The Ministry of Tourism would soon issue specifications for the hotels' construction,

right down to "the architecture, pieces of furniture and what the bathrooms

should be like," he said.

The plan was based on the Bali town of Dusa Nua, established in 1973 to provide a

zone of high-class hotels "completely separated from the [original] town."

Moulyvann, who recently visited Dusa Nua, said it was a "beautiful success".

There were 11 five-star hotels, all built in Indonesian architecture styles and none

higher than the tallest coconut tree.

Handicrafts made by local villagers were sold in shops in the hotels, boosting the

local economy without letting tourism spoil the traditional lives of Indonesians.

Moulyvann said a similar strategy allowing Siem Reap to have "a high-level of

tourism but not to be polluted by tourism", was necessary.

With the government aiming for one million tourists a year to visit the Angkor temples,

many officials were worried that Siem Reap and its people could be "destroyed

completely".

"In five years you will have prostitutes, Sida [Aids], casinos, traffic, lunar

parks," he said, adding that the effect on local people could be immense.

Government officials had two options for new hotels in Siem Reap - to allow them

to be built within the town center, letting tourists mix closely with the local population,

or to aim at developing a "second town" for tourists.

After evaluating tourism policies in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Europe

and elsewhere, officials believed the second option - and Dusa Nua model - most suitable.

Guesthouses in Siem Reap center could remain but a new "hotel district"

- or eventually a "hotel town" - would be established further away.

An area of land several kilometers east of Angkor Wat had been designated for this

purpose. The land, which Moulyvann said was infertile and disused, measured about

2km by 6km but only about 4 square kilometers of it would be needed in the shorter

term.

Loans would be sought from international agencies to improve water, electricity,

sanitation and other services to Siem Reap people. They would be paid back through

the sale of services to both local people and foreign developers.

Before the end of the year, the government would seek applications of interest from

consortiums of investors wanting to build hotels, golf courses and so on in the hotel

zone.

But officials were determined to preserve the character of Siem Reap, because "we

would not like the Angkor temples to be a lunar park, but a site of pilgramage."

He said he was unaware of a widely reported Japanese proposal to build a mini-railway

system around the temples.

About 150,000 tourists had visited Angkor so far this year. Officials expected to

achieve their target of 1 million early next century.

Moulyvann said tourist numbers were being limited by the capacity of Siem Reap airport,

which meant there would be some time to develop tourism services before tourism numbers

skyrocketed.

Enlarging Siem Reap airport, possibly allowing direct flights from other countries,

would cost around $30m.

A new airport would cost from $100 million to $240 million.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused