No casino, S’wak govt to explore redeveloping Borneo Highlands Resort into tourist destination

Ting giving his reply during the question-and-answer session in DUN Sitting on May 18, 2023.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 18: The Sarawak government has no immediate plans to start a casino in Sarawak but will look into ways to redevelop the Borneo Highlands Resort into an integrated resort that will offer a diverse range of attractions to position it as a favourite must-visit tourist destination in the region.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Sebastian Ting said the integrated resort would be equipped with facilities such as a golf course, wellness hub, event halls, entertainment outlets, and a variety of dining and retail outlets.

“There is no plan on building the casino as it is not the government’s priority for now, but it will certainly require a holistic and proper study for the development of the area in line with the three pillars of economic prosperity, social inclusivity, and environmental sustainability outlined in Post-Covid Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030.

“For now, the government will conduct a feasibility study to explore the strengths and potentials in enhancing Sarawak’s tourism capacity and visibility through an integrated resort capitalising on our natural uniqueness without the immediate need to build a casino,” he said.

This was in response to Tanjong Batu assemblyman Johnny Pang and Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong during today’s question-and-answer session in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN).

Ting emphasised that the redevelopment of Borneo Highlands Resort is timely as it will drive cross-border tourism following the decision by Indonesia to set up its new capital Nusantara in Kalimantan, which proximity and accessibility of the Borneo Highland Resort will make an attractive option for travellers including from Indonesia, Singapore and other parts of Malaysia.

“This will take some time, but the government is determined to make the resort a favoured destination for domestic and international tourists.

“Upon completion of the resort’s redevelopment as an integrated destination, it will significantly enhance Sarawak’s tourism offerings to attract more international and domestic tourists into Sarawak, thereby bolstering Sarawak’s attractiveness and competitiveness in the tourism sector.

“We can also envisage the spinoff and the economic impact for that area will be tremendous, thus greatly benefitting the local community, including employment opportunities,” he said.

Ting also highlighted that the existing golf course at the resort used to be a favourite among golfers both from inside and outside Sarawak, captivated by the stunning vistas, including the view of the Kalimantan border from Hole or Par three.

Furthermore, the area boasts a plethora of captivating attractions, catering to adventurous souls seeking an immersive experience in Sarawak’s pristine nature. A must-try activity is hiking along the picturesque Bengoh Range, which showcases the awe-inspiring Susung and Curtain Waterfalls, dubbed the “Jurassic Park of Sarawak”.

Additionally, visitors can explore numerous breathtaking waterfalls that dot the area, spend a night in Kampung Sting to witness nature’s grandeur with vibrant sunrises, serene sunsets, and a captivating night sky, experience white water rafting, bamboo rafting, and kayaking, the Delta Geopark trail, visiting the renowned Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, and immersing themselves in the warm hospitality of local homestays further enrich the visitor’s Sarawak experience. — DayakDaily