The government yesterday announced plans to build a city in Kampot province’s Bokor National Park that will become one of the Kingdom’s main tourist draws.
The plans were announced during a workshop held yesterday at Phnom Penh’s Sokha hotel, where the master plan for the development was presented to the public.
According to the master plan – officially known as ‘Master Plan for Bokor City Development Project until 2035’ – the new city will occupy about 5 percent of land in Bokor National Park, about 9,000 hectares.
Bokor National Park straddles the provinces of Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Kampong Speu.
Bokor City will be a smart, historical and green city, the government said. It will be an important hub for eco-tourism activity in the Kingdom.
The master plan addresses eight topics – residential areas, commercial areas, mixed-use zones, physical infrastructure, tourism, administration and public service, public and green spaces, technical infrastructure, and sewage and wastewater treatment systems.
Speaking at yesterday’s workshop, which has attended by around 600 people, Chea Sophara, the Minister of Land Management, said the government is now publicising the project to allow Cambodian citizens to invest.
Mr Sophara said Bokor City will become one of the most attractive tourist sites in the country and urged Cambodian real estate developers to invest.
CBRE country director Ann Sothida said the announcement of the project is good news for local investors but pointed out that developing the area might be difficult due to the topography.
“The tourism sector is one of the main engines of economic growth in Cambodia,” she said. “The establishment of a new city in Kampot province will boost growth in the sector. Investment could potentially boom, but it depends on whether the needed infrastructure can be built on time. If not, building the city will be hard because it is a mountainous area,” Ms Sothida said.
According to Ms Sothida, a square metre of land in Kampot is now worth $300-$500. Outside the city, the price of land plummets to less than $150 sqm.
Ny Phally, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, also expected Bokor City to become an important tourist site.
“As Kampot province becomes a very attractive destination for tourists, this new project will certainly increase the province’s popularity. Due to good connectivity with countries in the region, the project will also attract tourists from Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.
Figures from the Ministry of Tourism show that the number of tourists that visited Kampot province rose by 27 percent in the first half of the year. 1 million tourists visiting the province from January to June, the ministry said.