Langkawi in the spotlight

LANGKAWI - A 13.35ha eco-theme park and an exclusive island resort will be built here over the next four years to increase tourist arrivals and tourism receipts.

The RM700mil park will be an "eco-expansion" of the Oriental Village, an outdoor lifestyle and shopping mall with a boutique hotel located at the foothills of Mount Machincang on the north-western part of the island. The main attraction there is currently the Langkawi Cable Car.

A key attraction in the theme park will be an immersive Omnidome 3D flight to be created in partnership with National Geographic and named Flight Over Langkawi. The omnidome is a 3D-theatre which will showcase the beauty of the island. It will be built in the 4ha first phase of the park which is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

Other components of this phase include a bio-dome which will showcase the flora and fauna of Langkawi, a cultural village with an amphitheatre and a 250-room hotel.

The second phase will include tree-top walks, rope bridges, a wilderness adventure park, a VIP tree-top resort and more hotels.

The RM500mil exclusive resort, to be known as The Sultan's Palace, will be built over 9ha on Pulau Intan Besar which is a 1.6km boat ride southwest from the main Langkawi island. It will, among others, have 100 luxury suites and 17 high-end villas within a natural paradise.

The resort is scheduled to be built at the same time as the second phase of the eco-theme park, with both scheduled to be completed in 2017.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to implement the two projects was signed between Pekan Artisan Sdn Bhd and the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) at a hotel here yesterday.

Lada will provide the land for the projects while Pekan Artisan, which is a tourism resort and high impact attraction developer, will build them.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who witnessed the signing of the MoA, said the eco-theme park would help achieve the targeted RM3.8bil tourism receipts for Langkawi by 2015 compared to RM2.6bil last year.

Lada chief executive officer Tan Sri Khalid Ramli said Langkawi recorded more than three million tourist arrivals last year, surpassing Lada's target of three million for 2015.

Khalid also said Lada had set a target of RM5bil in private sector investments in various tourism products by 2015.

Pekan Artisan chief executive officer Robert Wyatt said the first phase attractions of the eco-theme park were scheduled to be open in time for the Asean Summit 2015 which is slated to be held in Langkawi in April that year.

He expected the park to attract 1.2 million visitors annually by 2017.

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