SIHANOUKVILLE, 20 January 2017: Some Sihanoukville beaches will be declared protected areas according to Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism new development plan in a bid to curtail expansion that could destroy the beach environment.
Cambodia Daily reported the new plan will ensure some beaches will be declared conservation areas off-limits to tourism development. Investors will be invited to develop beach resorts only at areass that are outside the conservation zones.
Some coastal areas will be open to conservation projects for research only, while others will be limited to ecotourism. The remaining beaches will be open for development with limits on construction from the beach front and the size of the properties.
Sihanoukville tourism department director, Tang Socheat Kreasna, was quoted saying water treatment and sewage management would have to meet specific standards.
Developers will also be forced to comply with stricter rules on where they build beach properties and how far they can be located from the high-tide mark. Officials admit that the rules have not bee applied strictly in the past.
The ministry forecasts Sihanoukville will attract 2 million local tourists and 1 million international tourists by 2020.
Last year, the beach destination attracted 1.5 million local tourists and 500,000 foreign tourists.
Sihanoukville is a coastal province in Cambodia and home to the country’s main port on the Gulf of Thailand. It also has 17 casinos that appeal to travellers from neighbouring countries.