Construction work on the Kampot International Tourism Port is expected to be completed by March 30, a top official from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport has announced.

Ministry deputy director-general for tourism development Sok Sokun told The Post after an inter-ministerial meeting discussing the progress of the Kampot International Tourism Port that construction on the project is now “almost 100 per cent completed”.

Breaking ground on August 8, 2018, the project earlier had a projected end date of mid-November 2021, but factors including the spread of Covid-19 in the Kingdom and weather-related problems had caused construction work to be halted twice and the project to be delayed by nearly 18 months.

According to the transport ministry’s plan, the project, a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district, 6km southeast of Kampot town, is scheduled to be completed on March 30. No inauguration date for the project has been announced yet.

Sokun said that the Inter-Ministerial Commission will “find a suitable time” to inaugurate the port after the completion of the entire project, with a ceremony to be presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“It may take some time to prepare for as we have to complete the clean-up [of the site] first,” he said.

The international tourism port will be the first substantial connection between Kampot, Cambodia’s islands and neighbouring countries since the reign of King Ang Duong in the mid-19th century, leading tourism officials and experts in the region to term it a “historical” port.

Kampot provincial Department of Tourism director Soy Sinol observed that the establishment of a tourism port would be the “next level” in receiving tourists as they have been limited only to land routes when coming to Kampot.

The port will also facilitate the visiting of Cambodia and neighbouring countries’ islands, especially as it increases the convenience factor, and would also provide opportunities for tourists to travel using a novel mode of transportation, he said.

“This port will help tourism in Kampot reach another level … In particular, the project is expected to offer a further boost to the resorts in Kampot and other coastal destinations,” Sinol said.

The Kampot International Tourism Port project was financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of the Tourism Infrastructure Development Project for Sustainable Growth in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), and has been overseen by the project management unit of the transport ministry.