Kampot province, which edges into the Gulf of Thailand, is set to be transformed into a tourist seaport with the construction of an $18 million marine ferry terminal funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), according to officials.
Soy Sinol, director of Kampot’s tourism department, told Khmer Times yesterday that the feasibility study and construction plans for the proposed seaport had been completed.
“Bidding for the construction work will start this year and the port, with the marine ferry terminal, is set to be completed by the end of 2018 or early 2019,” said Mr. Sinol.
According to an ADB report on tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Kampot ferry terminal, to be located in Kampot’s Tek Chhou district, is expected to service 360,000 international and domestic tourists when it opens in 2018 and 442,000 by 2022.
“The development of this passenger pier will support an increase in tourism in southern coastal areas and help establish a new gateway between southern Cambodia, Vietnam and other destinations in the Gulf of Thailand,” said Eric Sidgwick, country director of ADB Cambodia.
The ADB approved the $18 million loan in late 2014 and in a statement said the marine ferry terminal and other infrastructure in southern Cambodia will open up new opportunities for tourism beyond current popular destinations like the famous temples of Angkor.
Besides servicing Kampot province, Mr. Sinol said the seaport would also cater to neighboring provinces, including Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong and Kep.
He said the Kampot tourism department would be working with relevant government ministries to help develop a tourism complex on 200 hectares of land in the province.
“The new tourist area will be called ‘Kampot Thmey’ [New Kampot] and it will be connected to the new tourist seaport, with easy access to Kampot city.”
According to the ADB, business support services will be provided for at least 375 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, together with capacity building for government sector agencies including the Ministry of Tourism.
“The project will also facilitate private investment to run international ferry services from the new pier and provide a model for using tourist entry fees and charges to finance maintenance of public facilities,” the ADB stated in a note.
Ho Vandy, advisor to the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and president of World Express Tour and Travel, welcomed the construction of the tourist seaport and said it would help promote tourism in Cambodia’s coastal areas.
Mr. Vandy urged the government to go into a partnership with the private sector to develop the Kampot tourist seaport.
“Public-private partnership needs to be strengthened in Cambodia’s tourism sector. This Kampot tourist seaport project is an excellent opportunity for that.”
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