The Royal Group conglomerate has signed off on a $10 million loan from the Bangkok-based Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand) for the construction of a five-star hotel and resort in Koh Rong Island.
The $16 million Royal Sands Koh Rong project is a joint-venture between Royal Group, owned by media and telecom tycoon Kith Meng, and Luzi Matzig, CEO of travel group Asian Trails.
The loan agreement was jointly signed by Mr. Kith Meng, his business partner and director of the Royal Sands Koh Rong Co. Ltd. Lersan Misitsakul, and Mr. Kematat Saicheur, acting president of EXIM Thailand during the Thailand-Cambodia Joint Business Council Meeting at the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Tuesday in Bangkok, the bank said in a statement yesterday.
Mr. Saicheur said the loan is part of the bank’s plan for expanding its business and enhancing its investment into the four younger members of ASEAN – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).
“This financial support represents part of the bank’s role in promoting Thai entrepreneurs’ investment outside Thailand, particularly cross-border investment in the CLMV … aiming to bring in foreign exchange earnings and create job opportunities for Thai people who will be employed as construction contractors and project management teams,” said Mr. Kematat.
Besides hotel projects, EXIM Thailand has made a total of $30 million in loans other businesses in Cambodia, such as department stores in Phnom Penh, air traffic control facilities in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, construction of power transmission lines for exporting electricity from Thailand to Cambodia, and the government’s construction of Highway 67.
The Royal Sands Koh Rong will be the first five-star hotel in Koh Rong, and will also have more than 60 houses and villas when it is completed at the end of next year. Koh Rong, also known as Monkey Island, is about 25 kilometers from Sihanoukville. The island has 43 kilometers of pristine beaches.
Mr. Matzig said during the groundbreaking ceremony in mid-December that he had visited the island several times before selecting the Royal Group as his development partner. The project aims to be one of the most attractive in Asia.
“It is our aim to provide top accommodation in a relaxed and beautiful natural environment, “he said. “All our villas, except for the presidential villa, will be single [floor] style. We don’t want any high-rise buildings on this most beautiful beach. And we hope there will not be any high-rise buildings in the future.”
Ho Vandy, president of travel agency World Express Tour, told Khmer Times that since the government began granting concessions to private companies to develop 20 islands seven years ago, very little had happened.
“I hope this [new project] will draw more tourists, conserve nature with benefit the local people and society, and be as successful as the Song Saa project,” he added, referring to a high-profile luxury resort off the coast near Sihanoukville.
Cambodia welcomed more than 4.8 million foreign tourists in 2015, an increase from 4.5 million in 2014.