Wealthy tourists may soon flock to Cambodia to play golf at several new courses, the Tourism Ministry’s Secretary of State Thong Khon told reporters Tuesday.
In the coming years, Cambodia will introduce three more golf courses, two in Siem Reap province and one in Sihanoukville, he said. It currently has two: the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club in Kandal province and the Cambodia Golf & Country Club in Kompong Speu province.
“Golf is an elite sport that attracts elite tourists who stay longer,” Thong Khon said at a conference on tourism. He said that not every hotel could afford to invest in golf but that some four-star hotels might.
An 18-hole golf course in Siem Reap is scheduled to open later this year, and a 10-hole course is planned for Sihanoukville.
“It is a huge project,” Thong Khon said of the golf course developments.
The Sofitel Royal Angkor hotel in Siem Reap plans to open a multimillion-dollar, 18-hole course on 150 hectares at the Sofitel Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort by June 1, said golf manager Geoff Robertshaw, who expects the course to draw as many as 200 golfers a day.
However, Cambodian Travel Agent Association President Ho Vandy disagreed with the notion of using golf courses to attract tourists. “To have longer stays, Cambodia should have more nighttime events, like cinemas or theaters.” Golf will not make tourists stay longer, he said. “I guess that only 2 to 3 percent of tourists, who are rich, can afford golf.”
(Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)