The Canopy Sands Development (CSD) took centre stage at the Cambodia International Business Exhibition 2024 (CIBE 2024), showcasing the Bay of Lights project’s key objectives, which promise to reshape Sihanoukville's urban landscape. 

The ambitious initiative underscores the project's economic impact and its role in sustainable urban development, while aiming to spotlight investment opportunities across Bay of Lights' nine districts. 

It seeks to engage international investors, driving economic growth and positioning Cambodia as a prime global investment destination.

Held on May 10-12 in Phnom Penh, CIBE 2024 aligned perfectly with CSD’s vision of transforming Sihanoukville into a dynamic urban space. Designed to be an inclusive and interconnected community, Bay of Lights caters to a diverse range of socio-economic groups. 

The Bay of Lights, spanning 934 hectares, is an ambitious $16 billion coastal entertainment and urban development project in Ream City, Sihanoukville.

Built on six foundational pillars which promote prosperity for all, the development is positioned as a central hub for global trade and finance, attracting investments and stimulating growth, from local startups to multinational corporations. 

With a focus on preserving natural and cultural assets, Bay of Lights is set to become a top global travel destination, offering world-class resorts, hotels and recreational facilities. 

The development is also investing in advanced healthcare facilities and promotes a wellness-oriented lifestyle, ensuring a healthy, active population. 

Additionally, through partnerships with global institutions, Bay of Lights is committed to developing future-ready talent, preparing Cambodian students for the global economy.

Attracting both local and international investors

Sihanoukville's designation as a multi-purpose Special Economic Zone offers flexible regulations and diverse incentives, making it a prime hub for development projects. 

Recent infrastructure improvements in Sihanoukville include the Sihanoukville Expressway, cutting travel time to the capital to two hours, an expanded container terminal at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, a multifunctional logistics centre, and a new terminal at Sihanoukville International Airport (KOS) by 2026.

These advancements aim to integrate the region more closely with global markets.

The project presents a plethora of opportunities across various sectors, including energy, entertainment, culture, financial services, health, biotechnology, mobility solutions, sports infrastructure, technology and tourism. 

Investment opportunities are particularly encouraged in five-star hotels, theme parks, retail shopping complexes, residential developments, and the telecom, media, and technology sectors, all with a focus on sustainable development. 

Investors can participate through direct investment, the establishment of new plants or regional headquarters, joint ventures, co-developments, franchising, licensing and public-private partnerships. 

Benefits for investors include reduced tax rates, exemptions on import-export duties, and expedited visa processes. 

Additionally, a centralised investment authority will provide support for setting up and managing new ventures, enhancing the ease of doing business in the region.

Economic Impacts of the Bay of Lights

Local government efforts to enhance infrastructure in Sihanoukville such as airports, highways, and seaports directly support the Bay of Lights project's extensive needs. 

This initiative aims to create a city with an extended life cycle, featuring adaptable urban planning that evolves with changing economic, environmental, and social conditions to ensure long-term relevance and sustainability.

The project's strategic focus on encouraging population movement from Phnom Penh and surrounding areas to the Bay of Lights is designed to decentralise economic activities from the traditional capital, offering fresh opportunities for young Cambodian talents through strategic international partnerships. 

Future phases will include the development of specialised districts, green spaces, and community facilities to enhance living standards and community cohesion.

By introducing new commercial spaces, the Bay of Lights will drive up real estate values and attract both local and international businesses, boosting overall economic activity. 

The development is expected to create approximately 330,000 jobs by 2050, significantly enhancing employment opportunities for the community. 

The improved infrastructure and potential for high economic turnover guarantee the area will be an attractive site for foreign investors.

Leveraging Cambodia's strategic location at the heart of Southeast Asia, the Bay of Lights project aims to become a preferred holiday destination, attracting international tourists and further boosting the local economy.

Quality of life and tourist hub

The Bay of Lights is meticulously designed to enhance lifestyle quality through a comprehensive range of amenities. 

Beyond shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues, the project emphasises health and wellness. 

Planned facilities include state-of-the-art fitness centres, wellness retreats and extensive green spaces for outdoor activities. 

Unique features include a central park with themed gardens, a waterfront promenade for leisure walks and jogging, and wellness centres offering holistic health treatments. 

These elements are integrated to promote a balanced lifestyle, supporting the physical, mental and emotional well-being of all residents.

The project integrates a smart city network to enhance living standards and urban efficiency, including Smart Security, Waste and Energy Management, Water Management, Facilities Management, Education, Health and Wellness, and Transportation. 

Partnering with VinHMS, the project implements cutting-edge technologies for guest preferences and operational efficiency. 

Ascott Limited's involvement extends to luxury accommodation offerings. Renewable energy solutions and green building standards prioritise sustainability, while integrated transport systems encourage eco-friendly travel.

Social cohesion is promoted through community events, educational programs, and public spaces that encourage interaction among residents. 

Collaborations with local artists and cultural organisations ensure the development reflects and respects the rich cultural heritage of the region. 

The Bay of Lights hosts annual events like Skyfest and Skyfest 2.0, showcasing local talent and fostering cultural unity in Sihanoukville. 

These festivals enhance the cultural economy and reinforce community ties under the theme 'Khmer Can Fly.' 

Addressing current urban challenges

Integrating multifunctional urban designs, the Bay of Lights maximises space efficiency, fosters self-sustainability, and efficiently meets the needs of a diverse community. 

Addressing the scarcity of urban green spaces, the project integrates these areas into daily community life to enhance wellness. 

Catalysing dual-purpose urban development, the project attracts investments that enhance local business opportunities and tourism offerings, bolstering Sihanoukville's appeal to both tourists and investors. 

Focused on creating townships with recreational and cultural spaces, the project fosters community events, festivals, and social interactions, catering to diverse cultural expressions. 

Introducing a new model of urban development, Bay of Lights incorporates technology to streamline operations, enhance public services, and improve residents' quality of life.