Construction of the first seaport for tourist vessels in Kampot province is due to start in September.
Provincial tourism department director Soy Sinol said a construction study of the Asian Development Bank-funded project had been completed. The $18-million tourism seaport is due to come into service by 2019.
Sinol said it would boost tourism in the province by connecting seaborne tourists from Vietnam, Preah Sihanoukville province and Thailand. “This is an international tourism seaport in Kampot to connect Cambodia to Koh Tral island [Vietnam’s Phu Quc island] island and from Koh Tral island to here and to neighbouring countries,” he said.
The development of the seaport is important in attracting tourists by sea to Cambodia’s coastal areas, he said, adding that the seaport in Tek Chhou district is 300 metres long, allowing ships with 200 to 300 passengers to use it.
The ADB approved the loan in 2014 and said the seaport and other infrastructure in southern Cambodia would open up new opportunities for tourism beyond popular destinations such as the Angkor temples. An ADB report on tourism in the Greater Mekong sub-region says the seaport is expected to service 360,000 international and domestic tourists when it opens, and 442,900 by 2020.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, said the seaport would help promote tourism in coastal areas, and he urged the government to go into a partnership with the private sector to develop it.
“Public-private partnership needs to be strengthened in Cambodia’s tourism sector. This Kampot tourism seaport project is an excellent opportunity for that,” said Vandy. Last year, Kampot province welcomed about 900,000 foreign tourists, of which Vietnamese tourists topped the list.