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Cambodia’s pride of having one of the world’s most beautiful bays

Cambodia hosted last week the 9th Congress of the “World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club” following the inception of Southern Cambodia coastal bay in 2011 by the grouping. The importance of such a membership was highlighted by the presence of Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen at the opening ceremony on December 6.

BOKOR/KEP – The 9th Congress of the World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club under the theme of “Blue Sea, Green City” as well as two other important meetings -the 2nd CLMV Tourism Ministers Meeting and the 32nd GMS Tourism Working Group Meeting– took all places at Bokhor Thansur Resort, one of the latest tourism development projects in Southern Cambodia. Although the massive development might raise some doubts about the sustainability and the environmental impact on nature, the Cambodian southern coast has so remained relatively preserved from massive development.

To understand why the Kampot/Kep stretch of beaches is considered as one of the most beautiful bays of the world, visitors are requested to go to the old Bokhor Palace Hotel and Casino. The back of the 100-year old structure –still in reconstruction as it will be turned into a museum-opens on a huge terrace with a plunging view on the bay surrounded by a dense tropical rainforest. An amazing vision indeed…

The Most Beautiful Bays Club conference was inaugurated on December 6th by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Addressing invited delegates, media and members of the government, the Prime Minister indicated his strong will to have a body modeled on the one managing and protecting Angkor Wat being put in place along the Coast, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and the National Committee for the Management and Development of Cambodian Beach Areas. Development would be conducted on the principle of a public/private partnership and would be based on four principles : continue to be based on principles of sustainability, environment respect, cleanliness and good service. “It is a joint forum that gathers and enables all stakeholders to jointly think and jointly act with collective responsibility through dialogues, recommendations, joint development of tourism sector as well as sustainable development of Cambodian coastal areas,” declared Mr. Hun Sen. The Prime Minister envisions further circuits along the coast, cruise tourism as well as the enhancement of tourism destinations.

The aim for the Cambodian government is to firmly establish the coast as the third tourism hub of the country in parallel to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap/Angkor. The Cambodian coastline is already the second largest location for investments today, just after Phnom Penh.  The number of international visitors reached already over 420,000 travellers during the first ten months of 2013, up by 84% over the same period of 2012. The Prime Minister estimates that the 450 km of Cambodian coastline could welcome a million visitors by 2015 and two million by 2020.

Luc Citrinot

Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.