Cambodia Hopes To Lure Rich Tourists With Golf

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)

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