Construction of a much-awaited seaport in the coastal province of Kampot began yesterday, with insiders saying the upcoming harbour will boost maritime transportation with Vietnam and Thailand and bolster the local tourism industry and the national economy.
The facility is being built with a concessional loan from the Asian Development Bank, which was disbursed to improve connectivity with neighbouring countries in southern provinces, according to Tourism Minister Thong Khon, who presided over the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.
“Waterway transportation is also a tourist attraction. The government has been focusing on developing these waterways to promote tourism in the coastal areas and the Southern Tourism Corridor,” the minister said.
The Governor of Kampot province, Cheav Tay, said the port will prove particularly useful for tourists wishing to connect to destinations in Vietnam and Thailand.
“The development of the port will not only contribute to the development of the local infrastructure; it will benefit the country’s economy as well.
“This port will be a very important facility, connecting countries in the region. We do expect to see an increase in tourism in the coast once it is in operation,” he said.
Soy Sinol, director of Kampot’s tourism department, told Khmer Times in a previous interview that the port will be completed by the end of 2019.
In 2017, Cambodia received more than 5.6 million international tourists, an increase of 11.8 percent, earning more than $3.6 billion in revenue (nearly 12 percent of GDP), and directly employing over 650,000 people.
That year, the coast alone welcomed 3.2 million tourists, with international visitors numbered at 740,000, a hike of 20 percent.