The Royal Sands Koh Rong, a high-end resort located in the famous island off the coast of Sihanoukville, on Monday held its opening ceremony after two years of construction and an investment of $40 million.
The five-star complex is a joint venture between local conglomerate Royal Group and Luzi Matzig, CEO of the travel group Asian Trails.
Koh Rong, the largest Cambodian island, lies 22 kilometres northeast of Sihanoukville, a 45-minute ride by speedboat. The Island, which has an area of 78 square kilometers, boasts 28 beaches.
“For this first phase, we have invested $40 million and we are very proud with what we have achieved,” said Mr Matzig, speaking at the grand opening.
“As you can see when looking around, we have built an amazing resort, an international five-star rated property of the highest standard on 7.2 hectares of land that will certainly become the benchmark for future beach resorts in Cambodia.”
He added that more high-end international resorts are in the pipeline as he wants “to develop this place to be a historical island, a model for Cambodian people and the Kingdom of Cambodia.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who presided over the ceremony, said the presence of the resort is proof that investors’ confidence in the kingdom is high.
“It proves that Cambodia doesn’t have any political crisis. Cambodia is moving on the right path. We enjoy strong economic growth and a robust investment inflow,” the premier said.
Mr Matzig said the new resort will lure tourists into the country that would have normally chosen to stay in neighbouring nations.
“While in the past foreign tourists who visited Phnom Penh and Siem Reap had to look for beach holidays in Vietnam or Thailand, now they can stay at upcoming beach resorts in Cambodia, thus bringing in more foreign exchange to the country and also creating more jobs for Cambodians, reducing poverty and participating in the development of the country,” he said.
The Royal Group was granted a 99-year lease in 2008 to develop Koh Rong into a world-class ecotourism destination.
Last year, Cambodia welcomed 5.6 million tourists, a 11.8 percent increase compared to 2016. Preah Sihanouk province alone was visited by nearly 2 million tourists, 500,000 of who were foreigners.