The launch of Cambodia’s koh rong, Asia’s first environmentally resort meets a market niche for prestige holiday destinations. Travellers now are more environmentally aware, while there are several eco-friendly resorts in the region, there are no eco-friendly destinations and this makes Koh Rong a unique development.
The Island, the largest of 22 in an archipelago off the 600km coastline known as the Indochina Riviera, will be created around the stringent set of guidelines that aim to respect and preserve the natural environment of the area.
The implementation of centralised water catchment, and the requirement for developers to maintain onsite water recycling programmes for landscape irrigation and power conservation in addition to adopting ecologically sustainable materials, finishes and systems at every property.
Under the guidelines, destructive and exploitive practices such as felling of natural forest and jungle, the stripping of marine life out of the waters, water pollution and energy waste shall cease.
The rare opportunity to build a resort from scratch, and the chance to ensure all of the islands development projects adhere to a specific environmental benchmark, has been made possible by the ownership structure.
The Cambodian government has granted the Royal Group, a local business conglomerate, a 99-year lease on the island.
It will be difficult to replicate a project like Koh Rong elsewhere given the options to create quality tourism development is shrinking, It would also be difficult to have full control over the developments in other destinations and ensure that all projects conform to a certain environmental standard.
Koh Rong also allows developers to avoid mistakes such as overcrowding of mass speculative developments evident in established resorts such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali.
Koh Rong is expected to transform the landscape of tourism in Cambodia, which previously has hinged around Angkor Wat, the Unesco World Heritage site. According to a report from Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, only 7.15% of the 2.16 million visitors to the country last year visited its beaches.
With a limited hopper flight schedule in place from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, it would be easy to take 10% of current arrivals and see them extending with a beach stay by and average of 3 days until Koh Rong becomes an established competitor to similar islands in the region.