Integrated resort (IR) developments are mushrooming around the world. Countries see the roles that IRs play can strengthen their overall tourism offerings.
IR developments are generally defined as mega-tourism, entertainment and leisure developments that combine hotels, restaurants, convention centres, casinos, theme parks and shopping centres.
Some of Malaysia’s leading IRs are Resorts World Genting (Malaysia); Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa (Malaysia); and Sutera Harbour Resort (Malaysia).
For other parts of Asia, they include Marina Bay Sands (Singapore); Resorts World Sentosa (Singapore); Mission Hills Haikou (China); Venetian Macao (Macau); Sheraton Macao Hotel Cotai Central (Macau); StarWorld Hotel (Macau); Wynn (Macau); MGM (Macau); City of Dreams (Macau); and City of Dreams Manila (the Philippines).
Outside of Asia and among the world’s best-known IRs are the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, Disneyland/Disneyworld, Melbourne’s Crown Entertainment Complex, South Africa’s Sun City, Mauritius, and The Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Wherever they emerge, IR developments have a dramatic impact, enhancing an entire destination’s tourism product and appeal — boosting the economy, changing the entire shape of tourism and creating job opportunities like never before.
For example, Macau’s casino revenue had quadrupled from HK$55 billion to HK$217 billion (RM28.96 billion to RM114.25 billion) last year since the opening of the Venetian Macao, the flagship of “Asia’s Las Vegas” in 2007. Despite a downturn in gaming visitors from China, revenue remains nearly five times the Vegas Strip. Macau’s visitor arrivals have expanded from 22 million to a projected 32 million this year, generating significant economic benefits beyond gaming.
Malaysia’s Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the country’s foremost premier integrated property, is also doing well and expanding to include new tourism products and luxury houses for the local and overseas markets.
The 154ha resort is now home to two luxurious five-star hotels with 956 guest rooms, championship golf course, marina and recreational facilities.
Singapore Exchange-listed property developer GSH Corp Ltd expects robust potential for prime real estate in Kota Kinabalu, fuelled by strong tourism growth from South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. Visitors from these countries are increasing by the year and account for more than half of total international arrivals to Sabah.
Vietnam to join the club
HOIANA — a new world-class IR development in Vietnam — is set to join the IR club in Asia, with the first phase scheduled to open in 2019.
Located between Danang, Vietnam’s third-largest city and Hoi An, a Unesco World Heritage site, the 985.5ha development will offer a full range of amenities to attract tourists, families, couples, golfers, gamers and businessmen.
HOIANA head of business development Amy Do said the master development plan for the project over the next 10 to 15 years envisaged a host of complementary tourism and leisure-related projects through subsequent development phases.
The massive US$4 billion (RM16.44 billion) venture will have a world-class casino, an ultra-luxury Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a 445-room hotel and 200 buy-to-let condominiums; and a championship golf course-country club by Robert Trent Jones II.
Recreational facilities will include a beach club and entertainment venue for live shows and events, watersports and dive centre, and a promenade packed with bars and restaurants.
“HOIANA is set to rank among Asia’s most renowned resort destinations, offering a self-contained world of entertainment, leisure, pleasure and luxury lifestyle.
“This unrivalled, world-class integrated resort and leisure playground will set a new benchmark for high-end tourism in Vietnam, bringing economic prosperity and opportunity to Quang Nam province,” she said.
Macau-based casino operator SunCity Group and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises are stakeholders working with VinaCapital for the IR casino resort. VinaCapital is one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam’s real estate market.
It was reported that Phase 1 at HOIANA will incorporate the 445-room hotel complex and 200 apartment-suites for sale on a buy-to-let basis operated by Hong Kong’s New World Hotels, as well as Rosewood spa resort with 75 guest villas and 25 residences, and the world class championship golf course.
The opening of HOIANA is set to compliment the developments of several projects in Vietnam by Malaysian developers.