Malaysia: Sabah’s Kinabalu Gold Coast

Malaysia: Sabah’s Kinabalu Gold Coast

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Here’s another government initiated coastal tourism project that you may be interested in – Kinabalu Gold Coast – in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. Its been around at least since 2011 if not earlier.

This is another project under Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Program (ETP) and managed by the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority. We’ve covered other coastal ETP projects here and here.

The Kinabalu Gold Coast stretches about 100km from the state capital at Kota Kinabalu to the northwestern tip at Kudat. Refer to map for location and development clusters.

For its aggressive 2025 goal progress appears slow compared to the other coastal ETP projects.

We will be keeping an eye on how this coastal tourism project unfolds.

Sabah Kinabalu Gold Coast

According to the Malaysian government gateway investment website:

The Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) aspires to turn Sabah into an internationally recognised destination for business and leisure by 2025. The main target for leisure driven projects would be long-staying visitors, premier eco-adventure tourists, and high-end second home buyers with luxury holiday villas and lifestyle activities. The SDC also aims to attract meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition (MICE) activities to Sabah.

​Assuming steady and constant growth, Sabah’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment (KEPKAS) targets to achieve RM16.8 billion worth of total earnings from tourism by 2020 or 10% of the national tourist receipt.

Kinabalu Gold Coast Enclave Tourism Development Clusters

Under the SDC Blueprint, an area between Tuaran and Kota Belud has been designated for high quality tourism development. Four (4) tourism development clusters covering 78.5 square kilometers have been identified for this purpose.

Cluster 1: Sulaman-Lema’as

Cluster 2: Ambong Bay and Environs

Cluster 3: Usukan Bay and Environs

Cluster 4: Northern Eco Coast

Sabah Coastal Tourism Master Plan

The Coastal Tourism Master Plan will guide the development of these areas, which comprises of high quality beaches and coastal assets.

The master plan also includes designated areas for community and lower mid-range tourism development. High environmental standards are applied to ensure not only high quality tourism development but also sustainable and environmentally friendly building design.

The KGCE concept is to provide for high quality tourism development. The coastal tourism development is targeted to achieve RM1.75 billion GNI by 2020 with a total of RM11.95 billion in private investment. Once fully-developed, it is estimated that KGCE will generate 7,000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs as well as a large number of unskilled positions.

Development is expected to span over a 15-year period on a staggered basis, beginning with Cluster 1, Cluster 2, Cluster 3 and finally Cluster 4.


SDC tax incentives offered for the KGCE are divided between tourism projects and the creative cluster. Tourism projects will be offered full tax exemption on statutory income for 10 years, or Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on qualifying capital expenditure for 5 years which can be offset against 100% of statutory income. In addition, investors can also apply for exemption on import duty and sales tax subject to current policy; and stamp duty exemption on land acquired for development.

For the creative cluster, investors can apply for full tax exemption on statutory income for 5 years; or Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on qualifying capital expenditure for 5 years which can be offset against 100% of statutory ncome. Furthermore, investors are eligible for full exemption on import duty and sales tax exemption subject to current policy.


Alila Dalit Bay

Although not directly within the clusters highlighted above one of the recent projects to come into the Kinabalu Gold Coast Enclave is the Alila Dalit Bay Integrated Tourism Resort.


Sabah Tourism Development Overview

Download (PDF, 4.59MB)


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