CPP Senator and business tycoon Mong Reththy said this week that his Mong Reththy Group was in the initial stages of developing a mega-ecotourism resort on a 1,000 hectare parcel of land in a strip of 12 hills in Kompong Speu province’s Samraong Tong district.
Mr Reththy said on Tuesday that the project had gotten under way earlier this month when workers began developing a 15 km road to the top of one of the hills, and two water canals that will feed a water reservoir capable of holding two million cubic meters of water for the resort’s needs.
Among those needs, he said, would be man-made waterfalls cut into the resort’s hilly terrain, much like the ones he has seen at resorts in Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.
The government has granted Mr Reththy a concession to develop the 1,000 hectares for ecotourism purposes.
While declining to provide an exact figure on how much the development of the resort would cost, Mr Reththy said more than $10 million would be required and that he was currently seeking international investors. He added that he was seeking business partners from Malaysia to help build a zoo at the resort.
“It is a type of ecotourism project where I will construct a resort as well as encourage locals to benefit from natural resources and plant more trees to attract tourists,” he said, adding that a master plan for the resort was still being developed.
He said he believed the increase in tourism would provide alternative job paths for locals who relied on low-paid employment in the agricultural sector.
“Villagers here depend on cutting down the forest for charcoal production, so to prevent forest clearance, this project is the best practice to motivate the locals,” he said.
Kompong Speu provincial governor Kang Heang said provincial authorities would sign an agreement with the Mong Reththy Group granting them permission to develop the resort as soon as the company completed paperwork seeking a development license.
“Of course, our provincial authority really welcomes this investment. We expect this project will help my province to gain more from the natural resort,” Mr Heang said, adding that he did not expect any complaints from locals as no one lived in the development area.
Rath Thavy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that his organization had not heard about the project, but was hopeful it would provide more opportunities for locals.