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A highlands theme park with rides and special effects based on Twentieth Century Fox movies, shops selling discounted designer goods, upgraded hotel rooms and a 10,000- capacity hall to catch live shows.
All these are coming up at the Genting Highlands Resort in Pahang, Malaysia, in a 5 billion ringgit (US$1.5 billion) master- plan rolled out by the Genting group as it attempts to make it cool — in more ways than one — to visit the mountaintop.
The company is also building villas and a “six-star hotel” to attract high rollers to Malaysia’s sole casino, said chairman and chief executive officer Lim Kok Thay at a press conference on Tuesday.
The launch of the 10-year makeover was attended by Prime Minister Najib Razak and top officials from entertainment group Twentieth Century Fox.
The cloud-covered resort is about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.
Twenty million people visit the resort each year, about half of whom are from outside Malaysia. Singaporeans and mainland Chinese form the biggest groups.
The new theme park will be ready in 2016. It will feature rides designed with special effects from movies such as Ice Age and Alien vs Predator, Night At The Museum and Rio.
The new theme park will replace the old park that has been closed since September.
There are currently six hotels with 9,000 rooms at Resorts World Genting.
A new three-star hotel with 1,300 rooms will be built in addition to the six-star hotel, Lim said. No details were given on the luxury hotel for high rollers.
In the last five years, he said, occupancy at the resort’s six hotels has stood at above 90 per cent.
“However, we cannot be contented with what we have achieved so far. We need to preserve our trans-generational appeal and maintain repeat visitation and destination loyalty. As such, we are continuously investing to enhance our integrated resort,” said Lim, whose father Lim Goh Tong opened his first hotel in what was then remote forested highlands in 1971.
In 2011, Genting and Simon Property Group from the United States opened the first outlet mall selling branded end-of-season goods in Johor called Johor Premium Outlets near Senai airport.
The new one will be named Genting Premium Outlets.
The Johor outlets have seen “tremendous success”, said Najib, adding that the location of the second outlet mall near the capital Kuala Lumpur, as well as the resort’s many foreign visitors, bode well for its success.
The biggest hall at the resort now has a capacity of 5,000 people. Doubling its capacity shows Genting’s confidence in the future, said Najib.