Sea Games 2023 - Chance For Cambodia To Shine
April 26, 2023, 6:16 a.m.
With a little over a week to go until Cambodia hosts the biggest and most significant sport event in its history, nerves have been allayed by excitement as the government and SEA Games organisers (CAMSOC) have hardly misstepped over recent weeks in promoting a sporting spectacle that should place the Kingdom front and centre of the regional and potentially global stage.Excitement Builds For 32nd SEA Games - What are the Costs?The 32nd SEA Games run from May 5-17, 2023 (while the 12th ASEAN Para Games takes place from June 3-9) and the major sporting events have been linked to several key infrastructure and transportation projects in Cambodia, which are expected to have a significant impact on investment and tourism in the mid and long-term future.The total expense of hosting the Games is estimated to be around $200 million. We assume this excludes the cost of the new Morodok Techo Stadium which cost between $150-170 million based on various reports, and it is unclear if the complexes were “donated” as some reports suggest. The precise economic benefits for Cambodia are hard to gauge right now. The generosity in recent announcement from Cambodia SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games Organising Committees (CAMSOC-CAMAPGOC) would have grown the budget of the hosting the Games and resulted in lost potential revenue streams:Free tickets for fans to attend (These were originally planned to be $25-$50 each)Free accommodation and food for delegates (which usually would cost $50/day per person)Free broadcasting rights (the figure initially linked to the broadcast rights was $800,000 from Thailand alone)Prime Minister Hun Sen in April 2023 said: “We don’t want to earn money by selling tickets. The biggest goal is to showcase Cambodia to the world through this event.”The removal of accommodation (full board) fees for the 11 participating NOCs of the 32nd SEA Games (which would not have been budgeted for considering how late it was announced) is a big cost-saving on food, accommodation, and transportation for the visiting delegations. Cambodia is the first host nation to do so, and with Bangkok due to host the SEA Games in 2025, Malaysia in 2027, and Singapore in 2029 - will the Kingdom have set a precedent that others cant follow?The Khmer Times suggested that this could have generated nearly half a million dollars a day from the coaching staff and athletes (which equates to nearly $6 million in total for the duration of the SEA Games alone).Between 11,000-12,000 sports delegates registered for the SEA Games-ASEAN Para Games 2023 in Cambodia. Even with CAMSOC’s Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun saying that “no fees” only applied to the coaching staff and athletes who are directly involved in training and competing, the announcements albeit positively greeted, means we may only know the full extent of the total cost of the events in the months to come, but in the long-term it may be a small price to pay.The three biggest delegates for the SEA Games 2023 are:Thailand - 1,985 delegatesIndonesia - 1,802 delegatesCambodia - 1,158 delegatesTo prepare for the provision of health protection and emergency services during the upcoming SEA GAMES, the Ministry of Health has tasked in total, 833 doctors (457 in Phnom Penh), 114 ambulances (72 in Phnom Penh), 9 mobile clinics (6 in Phnom Penh), and 11 health tents (7 in Phnom Penh).Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism Thong Khon had suggested that 5,000 law enforcement officers and as many as 3,000 medical workers will be on duty during the sporting events.What Sports Are Taking Place and Where?The SEA Games 2023 gets underway on 5th May, and in total, there are 608 events across 37 sports on display over the two weeks. Cambodia has waited 64 years to host the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games for the first time - and in 2023 the slogan is “Sports - Living in Peace”.Fans will be able to collect free tickets online (via the mobile app SEA Games 2023 and website Cambodia SEA Games 2023) or at the venues hosting the competition. These resources also outline the full schedules, venues and dates for all of the sporting events (our tip is to download the guides on the app which are all very informative).2023 Southeast Asian Games by the numbers:The Opening and Closing ceremonies will feature 1,000 artists, 2,000 athletes & soldiers.Volunteers who have signed up total 5,000 for the SEA Games and 2,000 for the ASEAN Para Games.The Morodok Techo Stadium in Phnom Penh will host the opening and closing ceremonies for the events as well as; Athletics, Swimming, Diving, Table Tennis, Badminton, Tennis, Basketball, Kickboxing, Kun Khmer.National Olympic Stadium (NOS) is host to 9 different sports; Men’s Football, Soft Tennis, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Water Polo, Petanque, Sepak Takraw, Dance Sports.Four stadiums will be used for football - women’s matches are at RSN and Army stadiums, and men’s football matches will be played at the Olympic and Prince stadiums - all four are based in Phnom Penh.The Olympic Stadium has undergone some upgrades such as laying grass to replace the artificial turf which was funded by FIFA several years ago. All stadiums also have seating installed (the centrally located NOS for example usually has concrete seating).Aside from the many events taking place around the capital, cities in Cambodia that will host events are:Siem Reap - Angkor Wat hosts the Marathon and Road Cycling races.Kulen Mountain - Will provide the backdrop for Mountain Biking.Preah Sihanouk - Will host the Sailing (May 1-8), Beach Volleyball (May 11-16) and Jet Ski events (May 13-16).Kep - Triathlon/ Aquathlon/ DuathlonKampot - Traditional Boat RaceEconomic Impact of the SEA Games 2023In total Cambodia hopes to attract between 250,000 – 500,000 foreign tourists for the SEA Games-ASEAN Para Games 2023 according to Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and Permanent Vice President of the CAMSOC.With so many key infrastructure and transportation projects developed in preparation for the events and the growth of Phnom Penh in particular - these are expected to have a significant impact on investment and tourism.Worldbridge Sport Village was intended to include 12 buildings with 1747 rooms providing accommodation capable of holding up to 7,000 athletes, during the Games. They will be converted afterwards to housing - you can find out more here.On April 10, 2023 Chamroeun said the village will accommodate half that number (3,500 athletes) during the SEA Games, and that sports delegations and athletes will also be staying at four-star hotels and other places located near venues on Chroy Changvar.We previously looked at the housing and development spin-offs from the SEA Games and the areas which are most likely to benefit from visitors (all potential visitors).The weeks of international media coverage leading up to and during the Games, as well as the foreign visitors to Cambodia should all be favourable for the property market, businesses, and the economy in the long run.Recently reported financial and economic data is already painting Cambodia in a very positive light in 2023 despite the ongoing headwinds and global trepidation:Cambodia is ranked tied second with Vietnam for regional GDP growth according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has projected 5.8 per cent growth in 2023.The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said that Cambodia’s GDP growth is expected at 5.5 per cent in 2023 and 6.0% in 2024.Economists Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecasts that Cambodia’s real GDP growth will accelerate slightly to 5.3% in 2023.Yahoo Finance indicates that Cambodia is the 14th Fastest Developing Country in 2023 with an expected GDP growth of 5.8%.Chea Chanto, governor of the National Bank of Cambodia has set a 6 per cent target for 2023.The 2023 Southeast Asian Games is something we should get excited by and cherish, but aside from nation-building and celebrating sporting prowess, these events could showcase the Kingdom for an injection of foreign investment and a shot in the arm for the long-term economic development of the Kingdom of Cambodia.