Cam­bo­dia: A new bright spot in Asia-pa­cific

Cambodia Insight - - CONTENTS -

Long con­sid­ered off-the-beaten-track by lux­ury tourists and ho­tels, Cam­bo­dia has quickly come into its own in the past five years. As large ho­tels go up slowly, new bou­tique ho­tels are con­stantly open­ing in the cap­i­tal city of Ph­nom Penh as well as Siem Reap, the gate­way to Angkor Wat.

On July 12, Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land an­nounced their “Two King­doms, One Des­ti­na­tion” tourism agree­ment fa­cil­i­tat­ing a sin­gle visa for both coun­tries will ef­fec­tively in­te­grate Cam­bo­dia’s tourism mar­ket with that of Thai­land. This will fa­cil­i­tate in­creased tourism to Cam­bo­dia by Chi­nese tourists, who are now spend­ing nearly $500 bil­lion on their trav­els abroad, more than any other out­bound mar­ket.

Big play­ers mov­ing in

De­mand for high-end ac­com­mo­da­tion is grow­ing swiftly. Many international in­vestors are mak­ing big moves.

“The Cam­bo­dia lux­ury ho­tel mar­ket con­tin­ues to en­joy no­table ex­pan­sion, driven by in­creas­ing international tourist ar­rivals and grow­ing do­mes­tic pros­per­ity,” Chris Hob­den, sur­veyor at CBRE Cam­bo­dia told Ho­tel Man­age­ment.

This Fe­bru­ary, Ja­pan-based Ho­tel Okura signed an agree­ment to man­age The Okura Pres­tige Ph­nom Penh, a 45-story ho­tel that will open its doors in 2019 as part of The Bay, a $500-mil­lion mixe­dused de­vel­op­ment at the con­flu­ence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers.

In 2014 Shangri-la International Ho­tel Man­age­ment signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with a Cam­bo­dian part­ner to launch the king­dom’s first Shangri-la Ho­tel in Ph­nom Penh, also slated to open in 2019.

In the nearer fu­ture, this year Rose­wood Ho­tels & Re­sorts will open a 148-room ul­tra-lux­ury ho­tel on the top 14 floors of Vat­tanac Cap­i­tal Tower in the heart of Ph­nom Penh’s rapidly evolv­ing CBD.

Asia driv­ing growth

Cam­bo­dia’s hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try ap­pears to be in the eye of a per­fect storm, with 4.5 mil­lion international ar­rivals in 2014, com­pared with 2.5 mil­lion in 2010. A pro-in­vest­ment gov­ern­ment, im­prov­ing trans­port in­fra­struc­ture, rapidly grow­ing tourism and the year-end launch of the ASEAN Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity (AEC) also bode well. The AEC will cre­ate a sin­gle mar­ket con­sist­ing of the 10 na­tions of South­east Asia, which will boost in­trare­gional travel as well as cross-bor­der in­vest­ment.

For the time be­ing, the East Asian pow­er­houses of China, Ja­pan and South Korea are still vi­tal to

Cam­bo­dia’s hospi­tal­ity sec­tor. Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from Cam­bo­dia’s Min­istry of Tourism, 73 per­cent of international ar­rivals to the king­dom in Q1 2015 were from the Asia Pa­cific re­gion. Of those nearly 1 mil­lion vis­i­tors, 226,000 were from neigh­bor­ing Viet­nam, 187,000 were from China and 160,000 were from South Korea. Many an­a­lysts pre­dict the num­ber of Chi­nese vis­i­tors to Cam­bo­dia will dou­ble by or be­fore 2020.

This Fe­bru­ary dur­ing Chi­nese New Year, CDF Mall, the world’s largest Chi­nese-in­vested duty free shop­ping com­plex, opened its first lo­ca­tion in Cam­bo­dia in Siem Reap. The pro­ject tar­gets Chi­nese tourists vis­it­ing Angkor Wat.

In­vest­ment looks to the coast

Ho­tel in­vest­ment is mov­ing beyond Siem Reap and Ph­nom Penh, with the coastal city of Si­hanoukville a ris­ing star, due to its se­cluded trop­i­cal is­lands nearby. Its air­port will launch international ser­vices this year, with its first international flight ar­riv­ing from Singapore.

Song Saa Pri­vate Is­land, Cam­bo­dia’s first lux­ury is­land ho­tel and re­sort des­ti­na­tion con­tin­ues to re­ceive wide­spread recog­ni­tion. Alila Vil­las Koh Russey, Cam­bo­dia’s first in­ter­na­tion­ally branded re­sort des­ti­na­tion, to be op­er­ated by Alila Ho­tels and Re­sorts, is set to open early next year.

‘’With 2015 set to wit­ness the launch of di­rect international flights to Si­hanoukville, Cam­bo­dia’s main coastal city and gate­way to the coun­try’s is­lands, we ex­pect both the ho­tel in­dus­try and re­sort prop­erty mar­ket to en­joy in­creased oc­cu­pancy rates and, in turn, an up­lift in cap­i­tal val­ues,” CBRE’S Hob­den said.

CDF Mall in Siem Reap, the world’s largest Chi­nese-in­vested duty free com­plex.

One of the many beau­ti­ful sculp­tures found in Siem Reap.

Siem Reap International air­port with its dis­tinc­tive ar­chi­tec­ture. An­a­lysts pre­dict the num­ber of Chi­nese vis­i­tors land­ing here will dou­ble by 2020.

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