Desaru To Be New "Playground" For Oil, Gas Executives

Mohd Haikal Isa Bernama 17 Jul 12;

JOHOR BAHARU, July 17 (Bernama) -- The RM60 billion Petronas' initiated Refinery and Petrochemical Intergrated Complex (RAPID) project in Pengerang is set to turn Desaru's long pristine coastline as the new "playground" for deep-pocketed oil and gas executives.

With the massive effort to build RAPID set to begin soon, Desaru, a stone throw away from Pengerang, is to reap major benefits as it transforms itself as the region's hottest new tourism destination.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor Chapter Chairman Tengku Ahmad Faizal Mohamed said Desaru's hospitality industry would be positively impacted with the commencement of the RAPID project.

"Desaru hotels will definitely be positively impacted by the massive Petronas project. This major project, which aims to be larger than Kertih by the national oil company, will bring in corporate business visitors from the oil and gas companies to stay in the hotels surrounding the project.

"Those employed at RAPID, such as expatriates and their families, can treat Desaru and Desaru hotels as an ideal destination to unwind and relax," he told Bernama. Desaru is about 30-minute drive from Pengerang.

The massive project, which will start construction next year and completed by 2016, will transform the lobster town Pengerang in eastern Johor, into Asia's very own Port of Rotterdam.

Port of Rotterdam is the largest oil hub in the world.

Besides Petronas, a local company, Dialog Group Bhd, is also building a multi-billion ringgit independent oil terminal in Pengerang to complement the RAPID project.

Tengku Ahmad Faizal said several high-end hotels and resorts are set to open their doors in Desaru soon, giving the "forgotten tourist destination" the much-needed makeover.

Among high-end hotels to open in Desaru are Sheraton Desaru Resort, The Plantation Hotel, The Datai Desaru Resort and The Aman Country Club and Villas, he said.

The Sheraton Desaru will have 357 rooms, Aman Country Club and Villas 50 rooms and 50 luxury villas and The Plantation Hotel 400 rooms.

Besides the spanking new hotels, he said, visitors would be treated to a gamut of attractions currently being built such as turning a 17Km beachfront into a luxury integrated destination named "Desaru Coast".

"Desaru Coast comprises luxury resorts, hotels and golf residences, complemented with leisure and entertainment including designer golf courses, a retail mall and theme parks," Tengku Ahmad Faizal said.

Other new tourism attractions in Desaru two championship golf courses, a convention centre, Riverwalk, a landscaped retail mall and resort village that integrates the attractions and theme parks in Desaru Coast, namely marine park, water park and wildlife park.

It was reported recently that a unit of Khazanah Nasional's leisure and tourism arm, Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd, will invest RM267 million to develop and operate two theme parks in the Desaru coast.

Called "Ocean Splash Water Park" and "Ocean Quest Marine Park", the theme parks are expected to open in mid-2014.