Preah Sihanouk islands now magnets for investment, say officials

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A bird’s eye view of Koh Rong Island’s Koh Thansour Beach – which translates to ‘Paradise Island’ – in Preah Sihanouk province. SUPPLIED

The government has approved the investment plans proposed by 23 companies for 19 of the 32 islands in Preah Sihanouk province. The firms intend to develop the islands as tourist sites with hotels and other resorts to attract domestic and international tourists.

According to deputy provincial governor Kong Vitanak, there are 32 islands in Preah Sihanouk – five in Sihanoukville, 19 in Koh Rong town, seven in Prey Nop district and just one in Stung Hav district.

 

He said there are four companies investing in four islands in Sihanoukville, seven firms in nine islands in Koh Rong, and 12 firms in six island in Prey Nop, though he did not provide further details.

Vitanak revealed the figures during an August 3 meeting with the working group of the general-secretariat of the National Committee for Maritime Security (NCMS) on information and maritime security updates.

During the meeting, Suon Samnang – a permanent member of the NCMS –said he needed more up-to-date data to verify the island investments’ impact on the defence sector.

The NCMS must engage in oversight of these investments to meet its responsibilities in the role of protecting seabed biodiversity and protecting the environment, he said.

“Regarding the two-year works, we have reorganised in accordance with the National Maritime Security Policy, requires the data collection team to do an in-depth update and effectively manage the Kingdom’s seas,” he said.

Provincial administration spokesman Kheang Phearom told The Post on August 4 that the 23 companies that have received approval for their plans include those from Russia, China and France.

 

“Of the 23 firms, some invest in the whole island, some in part and some just under 10ha of land,” he said.

Taing Sochet Krisna, director of the Preah Sihanouk provincial tourism department, told The Post on August 4 that the development of the islands would help attract tourists to visit the province. It would especially provide employment opportunities to the locals.

He said it would not only benefit the development of tourism, but would also provide some indirect benefits to people, including construction, transportation, and board and lodging.

“Regarding tourism, the islands have developed a lot. They have developed into resorts, hotels, entertainment venues as well as adding some other infrastructure to support the sector to become more attractive,” he said.