The remaining portions of Takeav island, a 707-hectare islet off the coast of Sihanoukville, have been signed over for the development of luxury resorts, according to government officials.
Sihanoukville Municipal Governor Say Hak said Oct 9 that the Council for the Development of Cambodia, which approves all foreign investments greater than $2 million, had signed agreements on Oct 4 with a company named Sovannsith and the Malaysian firm KSKW Cambodia.
The CDC announced in July that the Koh Takeav firm, managed by the French businessmen Jean-Louis Charon, president of City Star Private Equity, a Paris-based leveraged buyout firm, and Etienne Chenevier, had also won the rights to develop part of the island.
Say Hak said he was unfamiliar with leasing details for the island and referred further questions to the CDC, where officials could either not be reached or declined to comment.
According to recently obtained minutes of an October 2006 CDC meeting, KSKW had announced plans to invest $177 million in the development of “a five-star hotel, a three-star hotel, a business center, tour boats and other resort [areas]” on 320 hectares, or 45 percent of the island, and to employ over 3,900 people.
KSKW spokesman Eddy Chew did not respond to requests for comment this week. A receptionist at the Amanjaya Hotel, where the Koh Takeav firm has its registered address, said Oct 10 that Charon and Chenevier had not yet checked in.
Contact information for the Sovannsith firm was not immediately available Oct 10 however the CDC minutes indicate the firm intends to invest $22 million in hotel and tourist development on the island.
Philip Setkao, president of the Cambodian Hotel Association, said Cambodia’s coastal islands have the potential to attract high-end tourists normally drawn to destinations like Phuket or Bali.
“In Cambodia, we have more or less the same product,” he said, adding that such ventures will only be successful with serious commitment and capital.