Bay of Lights is a landmark development for Cambodia and the new city development broke ground on Tuesday the 20th of December 2022 with more details confirmed for the project. The master developer, Canopy Sands Development is committed to achieving the full potential Sihanoukville has to provide.
The (Recent) History Of Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville was once a sleepier coastal town with some hotels, guesthouses and backpackers but very few high-end resorts.
By 2019 the coastal region of Cambodia had a thriving deep sea port boosting economic trade, an expanding Special Economic Zone and many flights landing at the international airport from around the region weekly, not to mention the busload of expat visiting over weekends and on holidays and tourists that flocked during the busier season - business and tourism was booming.
Although the city was fast developing into a town that attracted high volumes of local visitors and international tourists with increased spending power, Sihanoukville saw the emergence of multiple unregulated casinos and an alarming trend of online gaming operations.
Before to the onset of COVID-19, the Cambodian Government stepped in to ban online gambling and casinos, a long-term positive move which saw a mass exodus of people leave Sihanoukville - with many returning to their home countries.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges for Sihanoukville - primarily a skyline of unfinished building projects, poor town planning, and very few tourists as international borders shut and funding also slowed.
The Cambodian Government took this as an opportunity to rapidly improve infrastructure by initiating the project to expand the deep sea port, upgrading and completing all local road networks to an international standard, and completing a new expressway connecting with Phnom Penh - conveniently improving what had become a 6-hour journey into a trip of 90-120 minutes.
The New Centre Of Sihanoukville - Bay of Lights
The new epicentre of Sihanoukville is forecasted to increase tourism by 3 million visitors by 2030, adding 330,000 new jobs by 2040, and contributing 40,000 new dwellings to the additional population growth of 160,000 people by 2050.
The development focuses on six key pillars; Tourism, Entertainment & Lifestyle, Health & Wellness, Education, Arts & Culture and Financial Services.
The key attractions will include; a golf & villa resort; marina; performance theatre; tourism walking streets; shopping malls; medical centre; financial hub; integrated resorts; international school & university; private islands and luxury villas.
The vision is aimed to be completed in 2050 and Canopy Sands Managing Director Ian Tan told us about the prospects for the future of Bay of Lights and Sihanoukville, adding that tourists, businesses, hotels and potential partner developers do not have to wait to benefit from the development of Ream Sihanoukville.
“The Bay of Lights is a project that will bring about significant change for the Kingdom, and Canopy Sands Development has engaged the best consultants across the world to oversee the completion of this mega-project.
With clearer, cleaner waters and its proximity to national parks, the city centre of Sihanoukville is shifting towards the southeastern beaches (Otres and Ream), where the treeline meets the sea. And further away from the deep seaport which is becoming a key zone for commerce, warehousing and trade.”
He added, “The beach communities can experience the first ever beach club, with a 60 keys cabin hotel offering ocean views and surrounded by lifestyle and activities such as go-karting, paintballing, and a reverse bungee. Come 2024, a walking street full of artisan shops and items from local designers, food and beverage outlets will be thriving, and of course the pristine golf clubhouse and driving range. All are situated along a white sandy beach and pristine coastline in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
I am very confident with the team we have put together and based on my personal experience in delivering previous township projects that this will be a success My personal experience is successfully delivering projects like this across the globe and we are excited to redefine Sihanoukville with our partners, and we look forward to welcoming others to bring the project to life”.