A new side to Malaysia

There’s room for everything here. Desaru knows it’s a standout choice, and is getting a move on the regional MICE market

Aerial shot of Desaru Coast

Desaru Coast in Johor believes it in pole position to capture the attention of meeting planners and corporate companies across Asia, with two of its internationally-branded hotels, conference centre, two championship golf courses, and waterpark now fully operational.

Arokia Das Anthony, director, Luxury Tours Malaysia, called Desaru Coast a “refreshing and welcome addition” to what Malaysia can offer.

Aerial shot of Desaru Coast

He said: “It is a new venue for meetings and incentives, especially for organisers who have already held events in traditional destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Sarawak.”

Arokia also noted that Desaru Coast was a “young” destination that was officially launched in July, and had off-site venues that were good for incentives programmes. This is good for his company, as he indicated that they “always get queries from regional organisers and planners in India on what new destinations Malaysia has to offer”.

Vikram Mujumdar, general manager at the 275-key The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, shared: “The unique selling points of Desaru Coast as a business events destination are the facilities and attractions it has to offer.”

“Being away from the hustle and bustle of the city allows organisers to keep everyone in one place and happy. Delegates can attend meetings, teambuilding activities and incentive programmes, while spousal programmes can be arranged or family members can keep themselves occupied with activities around the destination.”

Adjacent to the resort is the Desaru Coast Conference Centre, also managed by The Westin Desaru Coast Resort. The venue has a total of 1,252m2 of fully-equipped event space with the capacity to host almost 1,400 guests.

The showpiece of the conference centre is a grand ballroom, which can be divided into four smaller event and pre-function spaces. There are outdoor venues by the beach available as well.

Vikram added that business to date for the ICCA-accredited conference centre has been encouraging from both corporate end users, as well as professional conference organisers. He hopes that the hotel’s recent full opening will attract even larger international business events opportunities.

“Corporate groups and events are the main business drivers and we foresee this trend to continue moving forward. As the development is still fairly new, the main focus is on marketing the destination as a large-scale integrated holiday and event destination,” he offered.

The other hotel located within the integrated resort is Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast with 365 music-inspired rooms.

Two more properties will come online soon: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas on December 1 with 123 rooms and One&Only Desaru Coast by the end of 2019 with 42 suites.

Roslina Arbak, Desaru Development Holdings One’s CEO, shared: “Desaru Coast’s integrated facilities and strategic location make it a competitive location for the business events segment, which typically hosts participants from varying geographies. We are targeting regional and international corporations and associations that are looking for new destinations in South-east Asia. We can tailor event experiences to specifically address their requirements for both business and leisure components.”

Key markets for the company include the domestic segment, as well as Singapore, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong and India. The company is also targeting international business travellers coming into this region via Singapore.

In addition, Desaru Development Holdings One is in the midst of adding teambuilding activities and facilitation, as well as curating lifestyle and entertainment events that that will appeal to both the business event and bleisure traveller.

For instance, Desaru Coast hosted the inaugural edition of the Ombak Festival (July 5-7, 2019). The Ombak Festival will be an annual event with curated activities including culture, music and food that highlight homegrown talent and products, and showcase local expertise and creativity.

In the future, travellers to Desaru Coast can look forward to a wide range of outdoor activities that include ATV rides, mountain biking, a climbing tower and ziplines.

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