Are the Chinese seeing Sabah’s location within the ‘Resort Development Golden Triangle’?
A China-based company is looking at a massive RM2.5billion integrated tourism development project in the diving haven of Pulau Sipadan.
The company – Diving Best – is in discussions with the Sabah Economic and Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) to facilitate its proposed development of the large-scale tourism project in the Semporna area.
SEDIA chief executive officer Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari said they had met the officials of the company for the second time on Monday as a follow-up to the first meeting in June last year.
He said the China group had expressed strong interest in developing a large area in Sipadan into a tourism-based resort, commercial and high-end residential areas with a focus on marine activities.
Under the proposal, he said the project would be developed under five zones – a residential area, commercial development, a high-end resort, a diving school and an administrative centre at a total investment cost of RM2.5bil.
He said the company expected to attract one million tourists annually, provide 4,000 jobs, house a population of 12,000, and have a construction scale of 700,000 sq metres with the project.
Mohd Yaakub said the meeting with Diving Best’s delegation involved SEDIA, the Tawau Municipal Council, the Sabah Tourism Board and the Immigration Department.
The meeting served as an avenue for SEDIA to answer key enquiries on fiscal incentives, immigration policies, real estate and land policies, available resources, the advantages of investing in Sabah, and project construction management policies.
Diving Best is best known for its Sanya Diving Training Centre in Sanya City in China’s Hainan Province.
It has been certified by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors – which is the world’s largest recreational diving membership and diver training organisation – and Scuba Schools International, with qualified professional divers engaged in diving tourism and leisure sport.
The company is also known for working with various international hotel brands such as the Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, and also China’s Horizon Resort and Spa group in opening several sea tourism-based hotels and resorts in China.
Sabah is well-known in China as an eco- and marine-based tourism destination, hence raising the interest of Diving Best to venture into the state.