NagaCorp Ltd, owner and operator of NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, has revealed plans to develop a US$350 million non-gaming resort in Siem Reap aimed at promoting NagaWorld and UNESCO world heritage-listed Angkor Wat as “twin tourism icons of Cambodia.”
The ambitious plan has been made possible after the Cambodian government granted NagaGroup Global Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, a 50-year lease on 75 hectares of land located just 500 meters south of the outer restricted zone surrounding Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s most recognized attraction and the largest religious monument in the world.
According to a Sunday night announcement, NagaCorp’s new development will be complete by 2025 – likely before the US$3.5 billion Naga3 expansion of NagaWorld opens for business – and incorporate high-end hotels, a water theme park, indoor hi-tech theme parks, a canal, water cruise attractions, and MICE facilities.
There will also be an entertainment district called Seam Reap China Town offering street food, pubs, music and shopping, which will be integrated with gardens and water features and protected by an all-weather roof covering that “promotes natural ventilation and soft natural light.”
Provisionally named Angkor Lake of Wonder, the 75 hectares of land on which it is planned to sit would make it larger than the combined size of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Los Angeles.
NagaCorp said the development will serve multiple purposes – boosting visitation to Siem Reap while providing additional promotion of and access to NagaWorld by implementing new travel strategies connecting Siem Reap and Phnom Penh by air, river and road.
“The Group intends to implement strategies of working with on-line and physical travel agents in China and elsewhere to offer tours based on more complete set of facilities based in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh,” NagaCorp said.
“The Group anticipates that tour groups shall visit Angkor Wat as an anchor attraction and then entertainment facilities being offered in NagaWorld Phnom Penh.”
The Hong Kong-listed firm said construction of the resort in Siem Reap – provisionally called Angkor Lake of Wonder – would be done in phases. The development plan involves hotels, a water theme park, indoor hi-tech theme parks, water cruise attractions, space for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), cultural attractions and food streets, it said.
It added: “The initial phase shall be completed by approximately 2025 and shall cost approximately US$350 million.”
The first phase would feature two hotels, one with 500 rooms for the mass market and the other with 200 rooms with MICE facilities. It will also offer a water theme park; shops; food streets; and an indoor interactive hi-tech theme park.
The land has a total area of 75 hectares (187.5 acres), with a seven-year, rent-free period, subject to a further mutually-agreed extension of another three years. Once the rent-free period expires, the company will pay an initial lease rental of US$0.60 per square metre every year with an increase of 5 percent every five years.
The Hong Kong-listed firm runs the NagaWorld casino complex in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. It has an exclusive licence to operate casinos in Phnom Penh and its surroundings.
NagaCorp is currently expanding its property in Phnom Penh, with new hotels and gaming space, at a total cost of around US$3.5 billion. The firm is also investing in a casino resort in the Primorksy Krai region, near the Pacific port city of Vladivostok in the far east of Russia.
In Sunday’s filing, NagaCorp said it plans to implement “travel strategies” to connect Siem Reap and Phnom Penh by air, river, and road “to promote the concept of NagaWorld and Angkor Wat as the twin tourism icons of Cambodia”. That includes a proposal to use water planes to create air routes between Tonle Sap Lake in Siem Reap and Mekong River near the NagaWorld property, it said.
A Cambodian government official recently reiterated that casino developments were not permitted in the “area” of Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap. The chairman of NagaCorp told GGRAsia in September that any venture by the firm into the Siem Reap resort market would respect Cambodian government policy on gaming concerning that part of the country. GGRASIA