Real estate investors eye coastal islands

Real estate experts say the coast and the islands near it are ready for development.
Real estate experts say the coast and the islands near it are ready for development. Pha Lina

Cambodia is home to some of the world’s most astoundingly beautiful islands, bursting at the seams with white sand, clear water and an overabundance of flora and fauna.

Real estate investors are eager to tap into the natural resource, and experts told Post Property that the Kingdom’s coastal areas will flourish as the tourism and real estate industries ramp up investment in the area.

Kim Heang, head of the Cambodian Valuers and Real Estate Agents Association, said Cambodia has many islands, but most of them are not developed. Some companies have been given government concessions to develop islands, but many have yet to actually do so. Some have even sold concession rights off to other companies.

Cambodia is home to some of the world’s finest beaches.
Cambodia is home to some of the world’s finest beaches. Pha Lina

“When development companies invest in developing the islands, the islands will become more attractive to tourists and investors while the price of the land has the potential to go up even higher,” he said. “The development project owners can start building infrastructure on the island to get an even higher price. When streets, bridges and transportation get easier, it will be more convenient for people living in Phnom Penh and other coastal provinces.”

He added that companies needed to focus on the infrastructure of the islands, as very few of them had ports, roads or transportation.

Chrek Soknim, CEO of Century 21 Mekong, said development projects with detailed plans can bring potential to areas along the coast and catch the interest of foreign investors. The islands, he said, were an easy way to attract tourists and build businesses.

However, Vorn Chanthorn, managing director of Town City, said it would take a large amount of capital to develop the isolated islands and mentioned the national and international environmental protections would need to be followed during construction.

“This is not just any kind of investment,” he said, adding that the companies needed to invest carefully and accurately.

There are 64 islands off the coast of Cambodia.
There are 64 islands off the coast of Cambodia. Pha Lina

“Island development is a positive for Cambodia’s tourism sites. The companies who have already obtained concession rights should invest in building bridges or ports to ease transportation and, if possible, they should develop the islands into resorts and leisure destinations,” he said.

There are 64 official islands in Cambodia, with 54 sitting off of the coast of Sihanoukville. The rest sit on the coast of Koh Kong and Kep provinces. The government has signed concession deals with companies for 28 of the islands, but few have shown any signs of development.

Snake Island, Koh Dek Kol, Koh Sangsa, Koh Tang and Koh Rong are the only islands that have been developed, mostly for tourism purposes.

In 2015, the Royal Group, which belongs to Kit Meng, began construction on a 5-star hotel named the Royal Sands on Koh Rong.

The Royal Group has already spent $30 million on the project and planned to finish in 2016. They pushed the end date back to 2017.