The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

  • More thought-provoking stories that inspire
  • Independent, free and member-supported
  • Vote for, pitch and commission stories
  • Member engagement with our journalists

To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Planning Sihanoukville / Why Cambodia’s beach town Sihanoukville could be the region’s next big tourist hub

By: Janelle Retka - Posted on: March 27, 2018 | Cambodia

The beach town of Sihanoukville has great tourism potential, but industry experts say proper planning and infrastructure must come first

A Chinese hotel and entertainment complex under construction in Sihanoukville

“I think Sihanoukville will be the biggest city in Cambodia in 20 years,” says Christophe Forsinetti, chief operating officer for real estate investment firm JSM Indochina. “Look: available land, cheap labour, cheap construction costs, an international airport, Chinese proximity and even the rest of Asia. I mean, that’s a no-brainer.”

The beachside town has the potential to be the next Cancun – a Mexican tourism hub for travellers from around the world that was once an impoverished and unsafe town filled with marshes and mosquitoes before it was transformed by development, he says. If it’s designed and developed with intent, Sihanoukville could be the equivalent destination for travellers from East Asia seeking a temperate climate on holiday.

“The potential is huge,” he says. “It’s going to be a growth engine for Cambodia.”

Based on outbound Chinese tourism alone, the economic reward would be exponential if Cambodia could win over the market. According to research by investment bank CLSA, tourism departures from China broke 135 million people in 2016 and that figure is expected to reach up to 200 million by 2020, with overseas spending anticipated to reach $429 billion in 2021. Thailand is already among the travellers’ most-visited destinations, along with Hong Kong and Macau.

According to Forsinetti, Cambodia could compete in attracting this market, with Sihanoukville at the forefront, if the government sets its sights on the city’s development. This would require a master plan, he says, “with proper  setbacks, heights, sidewalks, land use, zoning saying: ‘No, you cannot have a big factory next to a five-star hotel,’ and so on. All of this is still missing so far.”

It would also require improved infrastructure, he says. Electricity from the province’s two coal plants should be distributed across the territory. More reservoirs need to be constructed throughout the province for access to running water. Waste water and sewage must also be addressed, and affordable housing to host hospitality workers who will eventually staff the town’s developments needs to be constructed, Forsinetti adds.

“If the government says: ‘This is our vision. I’ll push hard, and I’m going to put the infrastructure in place, and I’m welcoming any serious investor,’ they’re going to come,” he says, pointing to a need for outside capital that could fund the establishment of branded three- to four-star hotels that might propel the tourism sector.

There are regional examples of this that should spark enthusiasm over Sihanoukville’s future, such as the successful development of Da Nang in Vietnam into a tourism hub over the past decade, according to Jonathan Flexer, senior sales executive for real estate company CBRE Cambodia.

“What we see from regional examples is that properly managed growth can generate huge opportunities,” he says. In Sihanoukville, “local authorities are aiming to link together the important infrastructure nodes, leveraging significant levels of Chinese-led investment under the Belt and Road initiative”.

Already, some of these movements are underway, such as a four-lane, Chinese-funded expressway connecting Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. Private investment in the area has begun to increase in the past year with Chinese investors who are developing condos and casinos leading the way.

According to CBRE, the mid-2016 relaunch of Sihanoukville International Airport has already brought a significant increase in foreign visitors, specifically from China, with Vietnamese, Russian and Western tourist numbers following close behind.

But recent statistics show that Sihanoukville is still in the early stages of development, Flexer says.

“We look at numbers and we say: ‘Oh, it’s a 200% increase [in tourism and investment], but we must remember that it’s coming from a pretty low base,” he says. “[T]here is still a significant amount of room for growth so long as limiting factors, especially infrastructure capacity, do not artificially cap the market.”

This article was published in Southeast Asia Globe’s Property Special 2018. For full access, subscribe here.