The government has greenlit plans to develop a stretch of mudflats on the Chhak Kep cove between the vibrant Kep Crab Market and a mangrove forest in Kep town into a sandy public beach to attract more local and foreign tourists.

The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development said the beach – located in Prey Thom commune’s Thmey village in western Kep – would be 2,700m long have a width of at least 30m, stressing that special attention would be paid to the quality of the sand used in the project.

A public garden with trees will be set up further inland on a 50m-wide, 2,700m-long stretch covered with fertile soil, it said, adding that the budget for the entire venture would come from landowners on the coast, in exchange for a 50m-long plot of land that extends from the garden to their existing properties.

The project aims to improve the beauty and environment of the undeveloped area, and add a wide range of amenities and perks to attract tourists, create jobs for locals, alleviate poverty, and contribute to the development of the regional and national economy as well as the national economy, the committee said.

Kep provincial Department of Tourism director Som Chenda welcomed the government’s decision to develop and spruce up the coastal area and improve the tourism potential of the southwestern province.

He said he was unaware of a timeline for the project, noting that all decisions would be made at the national level.

Still, he voiced optimism for the potential windfall this undertaking could end up being for the provincial economy. “I believe that the development of this coastal area will attract more tourists to visit this province.”

Chenda pointed out that Kep province has only beach, with a length of 350m, 12 islands and one reef, and boasts tonnes of potential.