Competition in the tourism industry in the sleepy coastal town of Kep is hotting up, according to seasoned expat and Kep Lodge owner, Dan Kreis
With business in the town driven by tourism and hospitality, these are the areas Kreis has seen grow the most since launching his business in 2007. Now boasting more than 70 hotels and guesthouses – double the number just two years ago – Kreis says it is more important than ever to stay ahead of the game.
“Competition is there,” he says. “However, as long as you have some knowledge of the industry, are familiar with new media, such as promoting your business through the web and Facebook, and have some new, good ideas to make your business stand out, it is possible to have a successful business.
“The biggest mistake is that think they can open a successful hotel or restaurant without having any knowledge of the industry and are then surprised that their new business is not running like they imagined. Cambodia was in the past a place where you didn’t need any specific education and could open a successful business with no problem. Now Cambodia is like any other tourist destination in the world and the competition is here.”
And for those wanting to take on the challenge, setting up shop in Kep has never been easier with the Government recently opening a One Stop Window house, which deals with licenses, from construction and business licenses to a tourism license.
Kreis adds that an increase in availability of supplies and a boost in infrastructure have added to Kep’s tourism boom. “When I started the business in 2007 we didn’t have the availability of ordering supplies in PP and normally went to get our supplies in Kampot, which was around 20% more expensive,” he explains.
“Now we’re ordering 100% from Phnom Penh and have it delivered with either a taxi or the bus and that works very well.”
Power cuts continue to be a problem, with electricity being sourced from Vietnam and there being regular blackouts for short periods of time. “About two years ago, we had during an entire month with not one day of power and during this time pretty much all the guest houses bought a generator,” Kreis remembers.
Road improvements have also helped to make Kep more accessible, driving more business into the town. The road from Phnom Penh to Kampot was recently completed and South Korea is financing Route 33 from Kampot – Kep – Kg Trach- Angakasaum. When this is finished, Kep will be accessible from Phnom Penh in less than two hours.
For more information on Kep, visit www.visitkep.com