Sabah will soon see two cruise ships offering a new level of dining and accommodation services, with one stationed here and the other at Bodgaya island, Semporna.
The floating hotels-cum-restaurants would provide high class dining, 68 bedrooms and entertainment facilities to address the serious shortage of hotel rooms in both places.
Hong Kong-based Bluemount International Limited via its subsidiary Supreme Sabah Tourism Limited is investing through a joint venture. A local-based company, Synergy Heaven Sdn Bhd, has appointed its business partner Heaven Ray Sdn Bhd to run the project.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the State Government through her Ministry welcomed the investors from Hong Kong for a win-win situation that would also boost the State’s economy.
She said it would definitely attract more tourists to Sabah and bring economic spin-offs and provide ample jobs to the local youths.
“I am excited about this project believed to kick off within this year provided the companies have obtained all necessary approvals and fulfilled requirements from concerned authorities.
“Any issues or problems they might face, they should not hesitate to contact my ministry. We welcome the investors and I do not care where they are from as long as they are qualified.
“The new State government under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal practices an open door policy to all investors, including for expansion of their businesses,” said Liew, who is also State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, after witnessing the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Hong Kong-based company, Supreme Sabah Tourism Limited represented by its director Wong Kedar T.K and Heaven Ray Sdn Bhd Chairman Kevin Lai Tsoon Vun, Wednesday.
The Hong Kong-based company also has future investment plans like a Water World and other large-scale projects.
Also present were Bluemount International Limited Chairman Chan Lan, Synergy Heaven Sdn Bhd Chairman Fred Gabriel, Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta) President Datuk Seri Winston Liaw and senior officials.
“The cruise ship with 68 rooms with a capacity of 120 people will be stationed in Semporna and solve some shortage of rooms, particularly during high season which makes the project an excellent idea.
“The signing of the MoU showed their level of confidence in Sabah known for being a friendly State, peaceful and practices open-door policy now,” she said.
Liew said Sabah is not difficult to promote because the State is rich in natural biodiversity and have the best wildlife and forests.
She also said her Ministry will be organising a marathon where the contestants run into forests to compete with each other while enjoying nature.
“There is a big chunk of tourists coming to Sabah who take up the eco-tourism and wildlife packages and enjoy our rich biodiversity and nature on land and sea.
“Even the Chinese tourists in Sabah would just upload their pictures in their social media applications to tell their friends and families about the places they visited like Tanjung Aru beach and the islands.
“Indirectly, they are promoting tourism destinations in Sabah by showing how they enjoy our beaches, islands and natural environment, among others,” Liew said.
Fred told reporters that that its subsidiary, Heaven Ray Sdn Bhd, is in the midst of getting approval from Sabah Parks to station one of their cruise ships at the island to function like a floating hotel.
He said the other ship docked at Sepanggar is undergoing renovation to provide fine dining restaurants and entertainment facilities here.