Malaysia on a drive to expand hotels, attractions

MALAYSIA’S government investment arm Khazanah Nasional is on a drive to expand its hotels and attractions portfolio across the country, with its crown jewel being the Desaru Coast Integrated Tourism Destination that will include upscale resorts, golf courses and theme parks.

A 30-minute ferry ride away from Singapore, the revamped Desaru will target well-heeled Malaysians as well as families from existing core markets such as Singapore, the Middle East, South Korea and China.

Scheduled to open in 2014, it will feature a marine life park offering dolphin encounters, a water theme park, a golf club with 18-hole and 27-hole courses designed by Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, a Riverwalk Dining & Retail Village, and hotels including Aman Country Club and Villas, Sheraton Desaru Resort and a five-star resort. There will also be 5,000m2 of exhibition and conference space, including a 1,000-pax hall and four breakout rooms.

Undertaking the development are two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Khazanah, Destination Resorts and Themed Attractions Malaysia, both present at ITB Berlin to kickstart marketing for the project and establish partnerships with airlines and operators in Singapore and Malaysia.

Eliena Ahmad Gaman, director, corporate strategy, Destination Resorts, said: “It’s a repositioning for Desaru, which has been sleeping and under-managed for some time. We realised a fresh coat of paint wouldn’t be enough, so we decided to alter the product mix and add new accommodation options.”

Raja Zafura Raja Zain, senior vice president marketing, sales & communications, Themed Attractions Malaysia, added that the goal was “to create a reason for families to spend extra days in the country”.

Besides Desaru, family-friendly theme parks and attractions such as KidZania Kuala Lumpur, as well as Johor’s Lego-land Malaysia and Puteri Harbour Indoor Entertainment Theme Park have either opened or are scheduled to open this year. Another integrated cultural attraction will also be launched in the capital in 2014.

Read the full report in TTG Asia, March 9, 2012

Read the full report in ITB Berlin

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