The owner and operator of Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino, NagaCorp Ltd, has revealed plans to establish a non-gambling resort in Siem Reap. The non-gambling property, which has been estimated at $350 million, is aimed at promoting not only NagaWorld but also Angkor Wat, an iconic temple complex listed as part of the UNESCO world heritage.
Currently, the Hong Kong-listed operator runs the largest casino complex in Cambodia, with the company holding a monopoly license in Phnom Penh.
In an official announcement to its shareholders, NagaCorp revealed that the proposed non-gambling project development in Siem Reap Province would cost $350 million. The development, which is provisionally called “Angkor Lake of Wonder” is set to see its first phase finalized by 2025.
The integrated resort is set to be the first one owned by NagaCorp that will not include gambling services. The company revealed that will be focused on attracting the millions of tourists who normally visit the famous Angkorian temples complex on an annual basis.
Along with other popular tourist attractions worldwide, the Angkor Archaeological Park has seen a massive decline in the number of people visiting it because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, this is not the only problem, as tourism in Siem Reap has been suffering a drop even before the Covid-19 infection outbreak almost a year ago. This is exactly why experts have put the viability and future profitability of the proposed NagaCorp integrated resort under question.
NagaCorp New Complex Would Attract New Visitors to Its Properties
NagaCorp revealed that it plans to work in collaboration with Chinese travel agents to attract new visitors from mainland China to the Siem Reap site. Furthermore, the company also hopes that it would manage to funnel tourists to its Phnom Penh casino complex by air, water and land.
The first phase of the new $350-million non-gambling complex is set to include two 500-room, 5-star hotels, a water park, a canal system, an indoor “high-tech” theme park and a “Chinatown”. As further revealed by NagaCorp, a Chinese state-owned company, which remained unnamed in the official announcement, has shared that it was willing to participate in the project’s financing, construction and completion.
The good thing for NagaCorp is the fact that it holds a 50-year lease contract on the land where the new complex is set to be established, and the place is in close proximity to the protected zone surrounding the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. the company will be granted a 7-year rent-free period that can be extended for 3 more years. After the “gratis” period, NagaCorp will have to pay rent worth 60 cents per square meter on a daily basis, which is set to increase by a 5% rate every five years.
According to a property consultant with knowledge of the local market, the deal seemed like a “highly favorable” one, as the rental price of such price on the Siem Reap market was normally 50 cents per square meter per month, which is 10 times higher than the rate that is to be paid by NagaCorp.
So far, NagaCorp has had the chance to ink favorable deals with the Government of Cambodia, which have helped the company’s Phnom Penh property become one of the most profitable casino venues on a global scale. Thanks to the record earnings registered, the operator has also unveiled plans to expand its NagaWorld complex, with the expansion worth $3.5 billion. The expansion works of the project, named Naga 3, are set to start soon.