PHNOM PENH, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Wednesday inaugurated a 1.2 million-U.S. dollar tourist port in the seaside city of Kep, aiming at attracting more foreign tourists to the southwestern Kep province in the post-COVID-19 era, said a transport ministry's news release.
Speaking at the event, Cambodian Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said the port, built on a total area of 3,470 square meters, can accommodate three cruise ships with a capacity of 150 passengers each and some small tourist boats.
"This is a new milestone in the tourism sector after our country has reopened its borders for fully vaccinated tourists," he said. "We hope that the port will help attract more tourists to this coastal province in the post-pandemic period."
The port, which is shaped like a crab and services the Rabbit Island, extends roughly 306 meters from the mainland into the sea and is 68 meters wide, according to its master plan.
Tourism is one of the four pillars supporting the southeast Asian nation's economy. The country received up to 6.61 million international tourists in 2019, generating gross revenue of 4.92 billion U.S. dollars, according to the tourism ministry.
But due to the pandemic, the sector attracted only 163,366 foreign visitors during the January-November period in 2021, down 87 percent from 1.28 million over the same period in 2020, the ministry said.
Cambodia has a pristine coastline stretching 450 km in four southwestern provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep.