Fast Ferries to Boost Tourism in Southern Economic Corridor
Ferry services between Kampot in Cambodia and Phu Quoc Island (in photo), a leading tourist attraction in Viet Nam, are expected to promote tourism as well as benefit residents and local businesses in the Southern Coastal Subcorridor. Photo: iStock.com.
An international seaport project in Southern Cambodia will serve as a gateway for direct ferry services to Viet Nam and later to other destinations in the Gulf of Thailand. The fast ferry services are expected to boost tourism in the Southern Coastal Subcorridor of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).
The marine ferry terminal in Kampot province is expected to be completed in December in time for the Sea Festival, which the province is hosting this year. Aside from its coastal attractions, Kampot is known for its well-preserved Khmer and colonial architecture. The province is about 150 kilometers from the capital Phnom Penh.
Filling infrastructure gaps
The seaport is being built under the GMS Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project, which is supported by the Asian Development Bank. One of the world’s fastest growing markets for tourism, the subregion boasts of destinations that are rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. The project, which complements similar initiatives in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam, is part of a broader regional push to expand cross-border tourism in the GMS and increase its socioeconomic benefits. Among its outcomes is to fill gaps in tourism and transport infrastructure.
In Cambodia, the project will also facilitate private investment to run international ferry services from the new pier and provide a model for using tourist entry fees and charges to finance maintenance of public facilities.
Kampot–Phu Quoc ferry services
The initial plan is to offer fast ferry services between Kampot and Viet Nam’s Phu Quoc Island. Project estimates place the number of passengers at more than 300,000 passengers per year. The fast ferries are expected to benefit not just tourists and the tourism industry but also residents and local businesses.
Viet Nam is looking at several options for the international ferry terminal on Phu Quoc Island. A top tourist destination in the country, Phu Quoc has four seaports; it is planning to build two more.
The international ferry services are expected to enhance tourism development initiatives between Cambodia, Thailand, and Viet Nam in the Southern Coastal Subcorridor, which is part of the GMS Southern Economic Corridor. The Southern Coastal Subcorridor links Bangkok and Trat in Thailand, Koh Kong and Kampot in Cambodia, and Ha Tien, Ca Mau City, and Nam Can in Viet Nam.
The fast ferries will make it easier for people to travel to Thailand’s eastern seaboard. The country is looking into the feasibility of developing port facilities that cater to tourists in Chanthaburi.