Eco-reserve to launch in Siem Reap

The Song Saa Reserve Hero Image
The 35-hectare lake at the heart of the reserve

The founders of Cambodia’s Song Saa Private Island eco-resort have announced the launch of a new environmental tourism-based project on the mainland, in the Cambodian province of Siem Reap.

Hong Kong’s Rory and Melita Hunter are creating the Reserve based on their knowledge and success of running Song Saa, an eco-resort in the Koh Rong archipelago, to create a “commercially viable, ethically led, integrated resort”.

The site includes a 35-hectare lake as its central feature and the project will include hotel and villa residences as well as a hospitality training centre, a ‘green school’, rainforest nursery, permaculture gardens and a solar farm.

Song Saa Foundation is now seeking investors with whom it will work in partnership to ensure Song Saa Reserve fulfills its sustainability aims. Over 120 hectares of land is available, with landscape and urban design company Coopers Hill responsible for the master planning of the site and the design and environmental codes. CBRE Cambodia are working as sole agents for the project.

“Since arriving in Cambodia in 2005, I’ve felt a deep sense of commitment to developing the country in a way that’s inclusive and aligns all stakeholder interests while showing the world just how special this country is,” said Rory Hunter, CEO and co-founder of the Song Saa Collective. “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Song Saa Private island and the work of the Song Saa Foundation. This new project scales up our ethos and approach and allows Cambodia to show the world how tourism, done right, is a powerful means for lifting people out of poverty and protecting the environment, while delivering… attractive returns for our shareholders.”

The land was acquired from tens of local small-holders growing fruit and vegetables. The land was originally virgin rainforest but much of this was cut away to make way for farming. The Hunters hope to return some of the land to forest around the resort accommodation.

Interest in the project has been strong and Hunter hopes to be signing contracts with the first major investors by the end of the year. It is hoped that the first stage of the resort will begin to open in 24 months time.

Tourist numbers to Siem Reap are expected to increase beyond the three million mark by 2020 and a new airport with a capacity for ten million travellers per year is planned.

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