An integrated resort (IR) about five times the size of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is set to be built next door to Singapore.
With its first phase set to open by the year end, Treasure Bay Bintan is poised to be a destination for resort and nature lovers. Visitors to the 338ha development can look forward to swimming in the largest man-made seawater lagoon in Asia, complete with sandy white beaches and a marine-life pool where they can swim with manta rays.
Being developed by Landmarks Berhad, the waterfront resort city could cost around $4 billion. It will be located just next to Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal - a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore.
According to figures from Bintan Resort Cakrawala, the operations arm of Bintan Resorts International, 418,700 visitors set foot on Bintan last year, and this figure is projected to grow to one million by next year. Singaporeans have been the top visitor market for Bintan, accounting for about 26 per cent of its visitor arrivals, followed by visitors from China and Japan.
Mr Paul Leong, chief operating officer of Treasure Bay Bintan, said that the IR will be "complementary" to MBS and Resorts World Sentosa. "Our attractions are unique. We try not to copy what Singapore already has," said Mr Leong.
He added that the "luxury of space" at the resort will be a key draw for visitors who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Based on figures from 2008 till last year, 98 per cent of visitors travelled to Bintan through Singapore.
"If you really want to attract visitors from Singapore, you will need more than just an IR," said Michael Chiam, a senior lecturer of tourism at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. "You will need other attractions, like historical and cultural sites. (On its own), there is not much variety."
Landmarks Berhad, which is listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, is also the owner of the award-winning The Andaman hotel in Langkawi.
Spanning 90ha, the first phase of Treasure Bay Bintan is expected to add 1,500 hotel rooms to the island. The third and final phase of the development will open in 2020.
Get MyPaper for more stories.