The chairman of casino investor NagaCorp Ltd has told GGRAsia the firm is “always mindful of respecting the host country and the environment” in which the company operates, when considering a new scheme.
Tim McNally (pictured in a file photo) added via email, in response to our enquiry about a non-gaming scheme proposed near Angkor Wat in Cambodia: “Our efforts to promote the country’s culture as well as the country as a tourist destination will always involve respect and consideration of the overall development of Cambodia.”
The Hong Kong-listed group – best known for developing and running the NagaWorld casino resort in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh – has proposed developing a US$350-million non-gaming resort about half a kilometre (about a third of a mile) from Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In a Wednesday statement, UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – 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”.
“The technical opinions of experts in the fields of conservation and sustainable development were clearly unfavourable” to NagaCorp’s project near the heritage site, stated the UN body.
While not directly commenting on UNESCO’s statement, the NagaCorp chairman said to GGRAsia: “We do listen carefully to responsible opinions expressed and take into account the various views expressed.”
The casino firm said construction of the new 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 his reply, Mr McNally further noted: “We will continue to evaluate all relevant information received as part of the overall process in developing any property. You can be sure that any project developed by Naga in Cambodia will certainly involve discussion and frequent input as well as coordination with the Cambodian government.”