Businesses along Otres Beach have to move
Sihanoukville. All business attached to the sea along the Otres Beach in Sihanoukville and within 80 meters from the coastline, must evacuate in the coming weeks, according to an order by the National Committee of Management and Development that will be followed by the Sihanoukville local government. The order will affect more than 60 business owners, including the Royal Group of Cambodian tycoon Kith Menh, who intended to built facilities to connect with Koh Rong. The beach, that was a traditional natural reserve until the last decade, with white sand, trees along the coastline and naked rocks, was conquered by a rapid proliferation of restaurants, bars and guesthouses, many of them owned by expatriates.
The NCMD argues environmental reasons as to safeguard the beach as a real tourist attraction, but also a natural place as it used to be in the past. After the start of the Cambodian tourism boom in 2005, the natural beaches of the Sihanouk Peninsula became a place of hundreds of businesses established to attend national and international visitors to the Cambodian sea port, being Ocheteal Beach the more central area. As soon as Ocheteal became crowded, business started to move towards the east, reaching the natural beach of Otres. Owners and their staff, counted in some hundreds, are sending a letter to Primer Minister Hun Sen and the NCMD in order to stop the order arguing that it will cause the lost of jobs of several families.