The Cambodian Tourism Ministry’s efforts to promote Sihanoukville’s beach destination as the Kingdom’s next travel frontier are beginning to pay off.
With last year’s launch of scheduled flights between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, more people are becoming aware of Sihanoukville’s beautiful beaches.
More and more developments are arising in the coastal province, with Marriott due to launch a luxury resort in 2013, featuring a marina and an 18-hole golf course.
Last year, a bridge linking the mainland to an island off the coast was finally completed. The same property developer is also creating a luxury resort with a casino.
Foreign tourists to Cambodian beaches jumped 8 percent to 180,000 people, official figures show. This growth will likely increase following Sihanoukville’s entry to the prestigious Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club in 2011.
Attempts to place Sihanoukville on the map, however, were stalled due to efforts to diversify the Kingdom’s tourist attractions beyond the French colonial capital of Phnom Penh and the Angkor Wat temples. This was further hindered when the Kingdom became one of the countries without its own domestic airline.
Sihanoukville Airport’s refurbishment was completed at end-2009, but scheduled flights into the airport were postponed by two years. According to critics, the delay was due to Cambodia’s so called flag carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air, which sparked little interest in developing new local destinations.
The re-launch of the scheduled flights suited well with the plan of the government to promote links to seaside resorts, says Kloung Sivly, marketing executive of Cambodia Angkor Air.