Today, my wife and I are very pleased to be here to celebrate the Listing of Cambodia’s Bay As a Member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club and the Dissimenation of the Conitnued Action Plan”. Through this, we can see better that Cambodia is located in a vintage position in gaining the advantage from being a member of the club of the most beautiful bays in the world. The listing will indeed play a key role in accelerating investments and more efficient development of the private sector, and boosting the competitiveness of the national tourism sector.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to commend the inter-ministerial commission that has been successfully striving for the listing of Cambodia’s bays as a member of the club of the most beautiful bays in the world; Cambodia became a full member of the club of the most beautiful bays in the world in the club’s 7th world congress held recently on May 7th 2011 in the Republic of Senegal. Truly, becoming a member of this world-class club is a new historic event which will bring about a great opportunity for accelerated development of the Cambodia’s bays and coastal area so that it will live up to its nickname as the dragon head area of Cambodia. This membership is fully in accordance with the willingness of Cambodian people and a prerequisite for ensuring the effective and efficient use of potential resources in a sustainable manner to underpin the economic growth and poverty reduction through the promotion of tourism sector, which can also trigger the growth in areas such as hotel, restaurant, transportation and other services.
Taking this great opportunity, I also would like to thank the club’s board and members for confiding in and supporting the candidacy of Cambodia’s bays and endorsing Cambodia’s bays as a member of the club.
Becoming a member of this club is a new turning point for Cambodia’s bay in terms of socio-economy, tourism, urbanization and environment, which are determining factors for international recognition of the entire 440-Km sea coast covering four provinces of Cambodia, namely Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot and Kep provinces which is collective called “Cambodia’s Sea Coast”. This has made Cambodia’s coastal area the 2nd economic pole in attracting investments for promoting national economic growth after the royal capital Phnom Penh, and also the main destination of natural tourism destination after the cultural and historical heritage areas of Siem Reap-Angkor and Phnom Penh. Indeed, Preah Sihanouk province has become the core of Cambodia’s coastal area, an international gateway, an industry centre, and particularly an international level tourism resort that exists in harmony with the our living environment and with great potential of natural resources, physical infrastructure such as international airport and seaport, telecommunication network and many other connecting economic infrastructure. Moreover, Koh Kong province is an international level eco-tourism destination and an industry centre linking with the ASEAN due to its high potential of geo-location, sea resources, mangroves and forests with the connection to the great ecological axis of the world that is Phnom Krovanh’s tropical forest which is rich in rare animals and the last one in Asia, and at present the area is listed as one of the 10 most famous eco-tourism sites in the world. Moreover, Kampot province is an agricultural and processing centre with advanced technology, a national and international trade and economic centre, and a destination for cultural, historical and natural tourism with wonderful geo-location, sea resources, Bok Kor resort, agricultural land and special features of agricultural crops such as durian, pepper, salt and sea catch. Besides, Kep province is a centre of long-haul tourist destination for those who love pure nature. All these essential features have allowed the four provinces be integrated into a coastal area of Cambodia with coastal axis connecting Koh Kong – Preah Sihanouk – Kampot – Kep provinces, linked with ASEAN highway no. 123 and linked with Phnom Penh through Phnom Penh – Preah Sihanouk axis to connect with the ASEAN highway No. 11.
In addition, we also have observed rapid progresses in the area of urbanization and construction such as hotel, guesthouse, restaurant, entertainment centre, and resorts ect. that have contributed to the promotion of the livelihood of people living along the coast, and have supported the expansion of other sectors as well. In general, all these private investments have quickly expanded in all these coastal area provinces including 117 approved investment projects equivalent to USD 10,701 million, which is 41.6% of total investment projects approved in the country. Taking this opportunity, I also appreciate companies investing in the tourism sector in coastal areas such as Koh Pos investment company, Thai Bun Rung company, Emari Ozonan Marine company, Koh Dek Kol and Koh Song Sa company, Ta Tai ecology investment company … an so on for having invested and complied with the environmental standard, showing that private sector has become the “True Engine of Economic Growth”, and has actively contributed to the development of the entire national socio-economy.
Cambodia’s coastal area is welcoming the growth of national and international tourist arrivals. Indeed, in the first five months of 2011, Cambodia’s coastal areas saw an expansion of 7.5% growth with the arrivals of international tourists about 90,000, and domestic tourists of about 860,000. In 2011, the figure of tourists is expected to grow by 8.5% with the arrivals of international tourists about 180,000. In this regard, we are optimistic that tourists visiting coastal area will grow even stronger when there are connecting domestic and international flights as the aviation sector plays a pivotal role in the development of tourism sector, and when there are connecting railway to Preah Sihanouk province; and later on when the attractive Bok Kor resort, an important magnet linking to Vietnamese delta region and south-eastern part of Thailand, is open for operation.
In the spirit mentioned above, we firmly hope that Cambodia will achieve more progress from the vast potential of its resources including natural, cultural and historical resources as such. However, we must not ignore other pre-requisite factors that ensure all these progresses such as assurances of long-lasting peace, political stability, security, safety and social order to achieve sustainable development in the long run. At the same time, we necessarily need to increase the efforts in the protection and conservation of natural resources, cultural and historical heritages as well as to increase the dissemination with effectiveness and greater coverage, living up to our name as Cambodia- Kingdom of Wonder and the Cambodia’s sea coast as Star in the Southwest.
This is an urgent task because Cambodia has faced numerous challenges that must be tackled, including the management of infrastructure and construction along the coast line, namely offshore land and its satellite area as well as other activities, which would be harmful to undersea natural resource and the management of relevant services, especially tourism activities that violate environmental standard.
In this regard, the government always supports and gives priority to the development projects that take into account of the conservation of the valuable natural resources. At the same time, the Royal government has also introduced laws and legal frameworks to manage, maintain, protect and conserve the coastal area and further cooperate with concerned ministries/institutions, all levels of authorities, national and international organizations, private sectors and the people. This is a necessary mechanism for ensuring the sustainable development and taking part in fighting the climate change, aiming at developing the green growth economy in Cambodia, especially green development along Cambodia’s coastal line. Within this, the Royal government has taken into account the principle of sustainability in the development of its coastal line. In this regard, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction must cooperate with related ministries/ institution and local authorities to ensure effective, sustainable, equitable and peaceful development and conservation of the coastal area. Recently, the Royal Government has created Cambodian Sea Guard which is the outcome of the cooperation between the Ministry of Tourism and the France’s Ministry of Interior.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to lay out some key recommendations to push for the effective implementation of the coastal area management and development to live up to its membership of world club of the most beautiful bays as follows:
First, the Inter-Ministerial commission tasked to incorporate the Cambodia coastal area as a member of the most beautiful bays in the world club must push for the establishment of the National Development and Management of the Coastal Area Committee as soon as possible, serving as a common mechanism for the coastal area development and conservation, including urban planning, environment and tourism, based on the principle of “Conservation serves development, and Development serves conservation”, reflecting the spirit of good governance which is one of the core principle of the government rectangular strategy. The committee should closely cooperate with all partners at the national and regional level as well as communities to manage and develop the area, determine special development project and jointly manage the utilization of national resource in effective ways, benefiting to local people and community, linked to a mechanism of the integrated planning, coherent governance, and joint management of effective natural resource usage.
Second, must continue to create good model beach by selecting Otres beach for the first stage implementation in order to enable us to take into account of the implementation of other beaches and move forward to develop necessarily legal frameworks, such as nice beach standard, to monitor investment project along coast line to comply with the principle of sustainable development.
Third, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction must cooperate with other related ministries/institutions and local authorities to urgently develop the government legal framework and circulation on guidance for the coastal area development to comply with urban planning and environmental standard, by maintaining offshore, beach and coastal land attached to mainland, island and waterway connecting with to offshore, allowing raft and vessel to be driven. In addition, we must make an effort to draw the borderline of protection area along coastal line in a highly responsible manner. This is a equal principle of the management and urban planning. At the same time, we must be ready to officially launch the project of National Integrated Strategy of Coastal Area and Master Plan of Preah Sihanouk province for Sustainable Development and make an effort to finalize detail action plan of the master plan to ensure effective, sustainable, equitable, balanced, peaceful development and conservation of the coastal area.
Fourth, the Ministry of Tourism must cooperate with related organizations/institutions to form necessary legal frameworks such as tourism development plan for coastal area and beach eco-label to ensure that tourism activities along the coast comply with environmental standard in order to maintain nice scenery, cleanness and good management of coastal area. In addition, we must to develop legal frameworks relating to tourism activities in sea area such as scuba diving. At the same time, the national committee must form legal framework to manage coral area.
Fifth, the coastally provincial authorities must pay high attention to the decision of the government on the establishment of sea safeguard as soon as possible and equip necessary technological equipment including safeguard station at key beach and move forward to allocate safeguard officials to station at key tourist destinations in each province. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism must continue to recruit safeguard officials and train them.
Sixth, ministries/institutions involved in the coastal area management must review activities relating to undersea resources such as sand dredging operation without compliance with lawful standards, illegal fishing, draining of poisonous hard or soft waste (sewage), land filling in offshore area, unmanageable vending along the beach, providing of entertainment service without safety system etc. to balance ecology, discipline and safety. We also must continue to strictly implement the management, monitoring and evaluation mechanism to prevent, combat and move forward to eliminate inactive activities.
Seventh, relevant provincial authorities must continue to strengthen the capacity of its local officials and civil servant involving with the coastal area development and conservation. Taking this opportunity, I would like to profoundly thank the Australian government, who allow us to send senior officials of the Ministry of Tourism and governors of the four province to learn and share experience of failure and success of Australia in the coastal area development in the early August, 2011.
Eighth, local authorities must pay high attention to the coastal area development. In this regard, I would like to appeal to private sector and citizens to jointly maintain and develop the coastal area in a sustainable and responsible manner, by closely linked with tourism advertising campaign, “Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder” and competition movement “Clear city, clean resort and good service”, in particular the coastal area to allow Cambodia coastal area to become the most beautiful bay in the world to benefit us in the present and the future as well as to enable us to be ready for the organization of sea festival in early December.
Last, but not least, I would like to agree with the proposal to place permanent secretariat office of the club in Preah Sihanouk province. I strongly believe that Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen, all relevant partners including public and private sectors, development partners, non-government organizations and people will further cooperate with each other to promote Cambodia’s coastal area development in a quality, sustainable and high responsible manner, in particular, jointly maintain balance of environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspect.
Once again, I strongly believe that a full membership of the Cambodia’s coast in the most beautiful bays in the world club is another great achievement for Cambodia. The accession will provide great benefit in mutually exchanging good experience in the coastal area development and conservation on urban planning, environment, economy, sociality, and tourism as well as sharing research results and technological studies relating to sustainable development, the promotion of tourism adverting of Cambodia coastal area and contribution to strengthen strategy of tourism destination diversification apart from the cultural and historical Angkor to visit the coastal area, especially to contribute to enhance the prestige of Cambodia coast in the international arena. In this regard, Cambodia will be capable to accelerate economic growth and improve the living standard of Cambodian people and it can fully play equal role in the region and the globe.
Finally, in this gathering and happy moment of “Listing of Cambodia’s Bay As a Member of the Club of Most Beautiful Bays in the World”, I and my wife would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International and all participants the four gems of Buddhist blessing.
Thanks for your attention.