UNESCO concerned NagaCorp scheme near Angkor Wat

UNESCO has voiced concerns over a proposal by casino investor NagaCorp Ltd, to build a US$350-million non-gaming resort near the World Heritage site Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The Hong Kong-listed company runs the NagaWorld casino complex in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. It has an exclusive licence to operate casinos there and in the city’s surroundings.

UNESCO said it was “closely following plans for a 75-hectare [187.5-acre] amusement park under discussion near the World Heritage site of Angkor in Cambodia”.

In November, NagaCorp said it had been granted a 50-year lease on a plot of land “about 500 metres [0.31 miles] south of” the development-restricted zone of Angkor Wat.

The casino firm said construction of the resort – provisionally called Angkor Lake of Wonder – would be in phases, with the first one expected to open in 2025. The plan involves hotels, a water theme park, indoor hi-tech theme parks, water-cruise attractions, space for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), cultural attractions and food streets, it said.

In its statement, UNESCO said NagaCorp’s project in Siem Reap was the focus of discussions conducted in the late January meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC-Angkor), a multi-national mechanism to oversee Angkor’s conservation and development.

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