Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals.

The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway houses a trendy cafe, a spacious courtyard and a modern swimming-pool, as well as lodges built with a Khmer design aesthetic and a variety of interior decor styles inspired by Thai, Japanese, US and Moroccan influences, among others.

At the inauguration ceremony, Davitra Cambodia CEO and Koh Slaket Studios founder Chan Davy said entry tickets would cost $3 per adult, which could be redeemed for a drink at the cafe. Although Davy indicated that entry would be free for children, she did not specify an age range.

Davy shared that she had purchased the 13ha plot around 20 years ago and is the sole investor of the mixed-style entertainment venue, which currently covers “only 20 per cent” of the land.

“We have not been able to determine exactly how many years it will take to complete the studios, but we are continuing to build it up. I believe that my investment, as a cultural tourism site, is quite likely to gain the support of the masses, both inside and outside the country, as it emerges as a popular travel destination near the city,” she said.

Koh Slaket Studios is located in Koh Phos village, Dei Ith commune, Kien Svay district, Kandal province (GPS Coordinates: 11.504N, 105.076E). Motorists travelling east on Highway 1 from Phnom Penh will pass Kokir market as well as Slaket and Koh Satharam pagodas, then turn left at the Cambodia Post Bank Kien Svay Branch to arrive at the establishment.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak said that his ministry “always supports” the development of new tourism products from the sector, which he said spur internal tourism, as Cambodia strives to promote the restoration of the travel industry post-Covid-19.

“Cambodia’s tourism sector has gradually recovered, with increasing flight connections as the number of national and international tourists steadily increases. This has given the private sector confidence to restart investments, or make new ones in the sector, which is a positive sign for tourism,” he said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin voiced support for ecotourism and cultural destinations such as Koh Slaket Studios.

“Although Cambodia does not have the same tourism momentum as Thailand, it is necessary to encourage domestic travel and attract more inbound holidaymakers. The development of new tourism products and services will help revitalise Cambodia’s tourism sector for a prompt recovery,” she explained.

However, Sivlin cautioned that Covid-19 still poses a significant threat, and urged the public to get vaccinated and adhere to “new normal” guidelines.

Cambodia welcomed 506,762 international arrivals in the first half of 2022, which marks a 394.1 per cent year-on-year surge, but an 84.8 per cent drop from the same period in 2019, according to a tourism ministry report.

The report also revealed that holidaymakers made 6.33 million domestic trips in the first half, up by 219.3 per cent on a yearly basis, while foreign residents accounted for 0.68 million, which marked a 380.3 per cent year-on-year rise.