The chairman of Asian casino business NagaCorp Ltd has told GGRAsia the firm is already working on “fresh plans” regarding a non-gaming resort near the UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The comments from Tim McNally (pictured) came in response to GGRAsia’s request for comment regarding a Tuesday statement from Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, which said that the proposed US$350-million non-gaming resort “cannot be implemented” in the context that it was proposed by its developer.
In February, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had voiced concerns over NagaCorp’s proposal. It stated that the proximity of NagaCorp’s project to the protected buffer zones of the Angkor Wat site “as well as the scale, scope and concept of the planned activities could indeed have an impact on the outstanding universal value for which Angkor was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.”
Mr McNally told GGRAsia: “We have already acknowledged the prior concerns expressed by UNESCO.”
He added: “As a result we will continue to develop fresh plans that are acceptable to achieve the objective of creating tourism venues and at the same time respecting the historical and spiritual wonder of the Angkor Wat site.”
Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp already runs the NagaWorld casino complex in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. It has an exclusive licence to operate casinos there and in the city’s surroundings.
The chairman noted in his comments: “As I have indicated in the past, NagaCorp never plans or implements a project in isolation and welcomes comments from various interest groups.”
He added: “We listen carefully and particularly and coordinate closely with key representatives of the government of Cambodia.”
Mr McNally stated: “Although I cannot provide a timetable at this time I can assure you we will continue to develop an acceptable plan for this area that will accommodate and promote tourism in the best interest of the country.”
“Our goal is to enhance and maximise tourism as a growth business sector and promote and complement the World Heritage site Angkor Wat,” he further noted. GGRASIA