More theme parks planned for Iskandar Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia is set to become a regional theme park hub with more theme parks expected to be set up in the country’s first economic corridor.

State Tourism, Trade and Consumerism committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the growth corridor would have eight theme parks within the next three to five years.

“Talks are going on between the authorities and theme park operators from other countries planning to set up their theme parks in Iskandar Malaysia,’’ he told StarBiz on Saturday.

Tee declined to give more details, adding that it was normal for discussion to take time between the authorities and theme park operators before finalising the investments.

 

It is learnt that the talks involved the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) with theme parks operators from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Europe and North America to set up their operations in Iskandar Malaysia.

The size of the new theme parks will range between 20.33ha and 40.46ha and they could be either outdoor or indoor theme parks.

One of the theme parks would be an indoor IT-based theme park similar to a theme park in Japan, which was popular with the IT-savvy youths and those into video games.

The investment for the new theme parks in Iskandar Malaysia could range from RM500mil per project and the figure could go up to RM1bil depending on the size of the theme park.

Iskandar Malaysia currently has Legoland Malaysia Theme Park, the Hello Kitty Indoor Theme Park @ Puteri Harbour, the Angry Birds @ JBCC and the Mount Austin water theme park.

Legoland Malaysia Theme Park in Iskandar Puteri opened in 2012, on a 30.75ha site was Asia’s first Legoland theme park with US$200mil investment catering to families with children from tw o to 12 years old with rides, shows and attractions.

“The theme parks in Iskandar Malaysia will cater for all age groups and the whole family including youngsters, teenagers and adults,’’ he said.

Separately, Tee said plans were already in the pipeline to develop and transform the laid-back Mersing district, located on the north-east of Johor about 130km from here, into the Caribbean of the East.

“Mersing has the potential to become one of the leading regional tourist destinations to attract high-end tourists and not only backpackers like what it is known now,’’ he said.

Tee said the state government would look at Thailand and the Maldives which capitalised on sun, sea and sand to bring in the tourist dollar to the district.

He said blessed with natural richness, Mersing’s rich flora and fauna and eco-tourism as the district’s strong selling points.

Tee noted that the Mersing district, located amongst 40 unspoiled islands off the South China Sea and the 200 milion-year-old Endau-Rompin National Park, had the right ecosystem to become a regional tourist draw.