On 12th February 2007 – HM the King of Cambodia Norodom Sihamoni graciously paid a visit to the Don Bosco Technical School Sihanoukville and officially opened the Don Bosco Hotel and Hotel School. Such event has been the top moment of the whole project; let’s have a look at the main stages of its development:
Following the wave of the successful experiences of the technical schools in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia decided to try a new path to enlarge its vocational education project: a tourism-related school. Why not?
Cambodia’s tourism experienced a rapid growth after the end of hostilities and the surrender of the last Khmer Rouges, and some small-scale hospitality schools were already operated by some NGOs in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Sihanoukville, the most popular beach resort town in Cambodia, had none of such educational projects in matters related to hospitality and tourism, but the town could count upon a determined bunch of Salesians working at the Don Bosco Technical School, the biggest vocational school in the entire coastal area of the Country.
Fr. John Visser, the responsible of Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia, gave the OK to the idea; Brother Roberto Panetto accepted the task of managing the whole project. It was decided that the new school should be located on an unused piece of land near the Technical School, in the O’Pram area of the town. At that time, the fact that somebody was opening a hotel in that area, so far from downtown, was considered by the locals as one of the many strange behaviors so common amongst the “barang” (foreigners). But the idea proved right. The area is now going developed into a top class residential zone, new roads have been opened to connect it to the main beaches, and a new road is being built to connect the residential projects directly with Highway 4, the main road to the airport and Phnom Penh.
The beginning of this project was not an easy one: first, there was the necessity to raise funds, and this problem was solved by generous donors from Holland and Belgium. The works started in the first months of 2006. Other problems, as finding teachers and trainers, enrolling the first batch of students, were managed in different ways, thanks to volunteers, local contributors and NGOs. Finally, the inauguration day, a time to rejoice and to thank God and the generosity of all who have contributed to this beautiful project.