The construction of the new tourism port in Kampot province is more than 30 percent complete and is expected to be finished by the middle of the year, according to the Kampot provincial tourism department.
The project is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB approved an $8 million loan for the port project saying that it will open up new opportunities for tourism beyond current popular destinations like the Angkor Archaeological Park.
The port would play a vital role attracting tourists to the province, and would provide many financial benefits to the people of Kampot, said Soy Sinol director of tourism department of Kampot province.
“The new tourism port has completed some parts of the passenger terminal and road access to the port and expect to complete in April. However, because there is the outbreak of COVID-19, the project has been delayed,” said Sinol.
“The port would also facilitate travel along the Cambodian coast and enhance the flow of tourists from neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand,” Sinol added. “From the study, the tourism port will be potential to welcoming more than 4,000 tourist passing Kampot province daily for the first opening. The port is serving only the tourists not cargo or light freight transport,” according to Sinol.
“We are not only developing the tourism seaport, but we are trying our best to create attractive tourism products, and promoting our tourism product to the world,” Sinol said, adding that Kampot has many tourist attractions such as Borkor Mountain as well as architecture left over from the French colonial era.
Last year, Kampot welcomed about 1.6 million local and international tourists. Of those, 10 percent were international tourists and most of them were from Vietnam, the European Union and Asia-Pacific. At present, Kampot has 17 tourism sites, four tourism communities and four tourism destination (pepper farms, salt fields, heritage building and river views).
The provincial authority has been developing the new beach in the new Kep area which is located to the West of Kampot to attract the tourists to visit Kampot province. Moreover, it is also developing Koh Seh (Horse Island) to be an attractive tourism site because this island has clear water, sea flowers and is good for diving and will take one hour by boat from Kampot town.
Kampot provincial tourism department and Kampot provincial administration have also set upae five-year plan (2019-2023) to develop tourism. They are continuing strengthening the quality of the existing tourism products, expanding the development of the new beach and new islands, pushing and strengthening the quality of service, tourism standards and human resource development, as well as promoting the sites using the internet.
“With this full potential tourism in the province, Kampot is now lacking medium and high class accommodation and restaurant and other entertainment services, therefore, it is demanding more investment into this segment,” said Sinol.
“We are pushing the investment on the accommodation to have 2,500 to 6,000 rooms in response to demand from the number of tourists in Kampot,” he added. “We are calling for investment on the medium and high class restaurants and hotels and other entertainment centres.
“From January to mid-March of 2020, the flow of the international tourists to Kampot remained stable then, by end of March, it became quiet until now. However local tourism started to recover with people visiting Kampot after Khmer New Year, with about 25,000 people visiting Kampot every day.”