With Sokha Beach Resort the location for the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2022 from January 16-22, the five-star luxury holiday destination will be helping put Sihanoukville on the map regionally and to the world.
General manager Thai Dara said it was “an honour” for Sokha Beach Resort – “the place where the sea meets the sky” – to be chosen as the setting for the major regional event.
“It means a lot for Sihanoukville to be chosen as the destination for the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022, and it is an honour for us personally to host the event.
“Hosting the event will allow us to promote Sihanoukville and Cambodia as a whole as a world-class tourism destination, as well as Sokha Beach Resort.
“When people arrive here for the ATF, they will get the same feeling that all our guests do – ‘wow, no other place can compare’,” Dara said.
The ATF states that it aims to “provide a platform to encourage collaboration between ASEAN member states and to promote the region as one destination with diverse cultures”.
The theme of this year’s ATF event – “ASEAN: A Community of Peace and Shared Future” – highlights the Kingdom’s commitment as a key stakeholder in the region’s tourism ecosystem.
And with its landscaping and sympathetic architecture creating a relaxed atmosphere in line with the beautiful location, Sokha Beach Resort is the ideal place to showcase Cambodia’s tourism industry.
“With our palm tree-lined landscaped gardens overlooking this beautiful 1.5 kilometre stretch of white sand and crystal-clear sea, Sokha Beach Resort – with its skilful blending of the natural and built environments – really is the place where the sea meets the sky.
“We have – set in over 30ha of beautifully landscaped beachfront – 969 guest rooms, suites, chalets and villas with a mixture of modern and traditional Khmer design, with six top-end restaurants appealing to Cambodian, Asian and Western tastes,” Dara said.
Sokha Beach Resort began in the 1960s as 10 luxury beach villas – which still stand as a centrepiece of the resort – with the current owner expanding the property after acquiring it in 2004.
“The story started in the 1960s ‘Golden Era’ during the reign of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, with 10 luxury bungalows that were built on Sokha Beach as ‘Motel Sokha’ as part of the original development of Sihanoukville and Cambodia’s tourism industry.
“In 2004 the Cambodian tourism industry was limited and Sokha Hotels chose this beautiful place to build an international standard holiday resort as part of the drive to revive it and promote the Kingdom as a top tourism destination.
“Sokha Beach Resort now boasts the full range of international standard amenities, and everything you would expect from a five-star resort all coupled with the unique Cambodian experience,” Dara said.
This, he said, is in keeping with Sokha Hotels’ mission of “providing a truly memorable Khmer hospitality experience that makes a lasting difference to people’s lives by creating the feelings that their heart longs for”.
“At Sokha Beach resort we strive to promote Cambodian hospitality – our kindness and our genuine warm smiles – to the world.
“Khmer hospitality comes from our culture of kindness, respect for foreigners and guests, and our generosity and warmth – and at Sokha Beach we aim to embody this,” Dara said.
The Siem Reap native, with 16 years’ experience working for Sokha Hotels, says the company’s ethos of a happy workforce translates into a first-rate experience for guests.
“The Sokha Hotels philosophy is one of treating the staff as one family. This attitude is all part of our holistic, sustainable approach to the resort – the respect we show our guests and our staff is reflected in the respect we show to the environment and the beach.
“The strength of the Sokha experience is shown in the number of loyal repeat guests that keep coming back to us – they see us a second home.
“Some of our guests came here as children, and our brand is so strong that now they are parents, they are bringing their kids here – history is constantly being built at Sokha Beach Resort for every generation,” Dara said.
And Dara said the resort’s friendly staff are eager to extend their welcome to as many new guests as possible.
“Strictly adhering to the government’s Covid-19 standard operating protocols, we are very much looking forward to safely welcoming new domestic and internationals guests with Khmer hospitality .
“‘Sokha’ translates as ‘prosperity and happiness’, and we aim to provide this, offering the warmest welcome and most rewarding guest experience to be the first choice for travellers in Cambodia,” Dara said.