KOTA KINABALU: The old Kota Kinabalu (KK) Port area is set for a facelift with mega-development projects that will boost the tourism industry.
According to SURIA CAPITAL HOLDINGS BHD group managing director Ng Kiat Min, the ongoing and planned developments are estimated to be worth billions of ringgit.
The projects included the 15-acre Sabah International Convention Centre, the Kota Kinabalu Convention City (8.33 acres), Jesselton Quay (16.25 acres) and the One Jesselton Waterfront (seven acre).
Also in the planning stage are the International Cruise Terminal (ICT) and a ferry terminal, according to Ng, who is also Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd managing director.
She said this after making a courtesy call on the Deputy Chief Minister and State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew here on Sunday.
Given the KK Port area’s strategic location fronting the South China Sea against the backdrop of the majestic Mount Kinabalu, Ng said: “The upcoming developments would definitely woo more domestic and overseas visitors.”
On the proposed ICT development, she said it would be based on a low-density, low-rise model to preserve the water feature and minimise the environmental impact.
For connectivity, she noted that the proposed ICT and other developments within the KK Port land would be integrated and linked by a boardwalk featuring shops, eateries, amusement centres and lodgings.
“To make way for the proposed ICT, plans are underway for the construction of a new terminal in Sapanggar Bay for the relocation of the general cargo operations at the existing KK Port,” Ng pointed out.
The new facility may be known as the Sapanggar Bay conventional cargo terminal, she added.
According to Ng, the developments would collectively be known as the Jesselton Waterfront City (JWC), whereby “the projects would complement each other and transform the KK Port area into an integrated world-class waterfront destination.”
Other new attractions expected upon completion of the mega-projects are multi-storey commercial suites, a tropical-themed beach club, city pads, retail shops, hotel towers, malls and serviced suites.
During Ng’s courtesy call on Liew, matters pertaining to ways the state government and the company can work together were also discussed.
Liew said: “It is exciting to learn that JWC is designed to create a modern and friendly atmosphere for people to work, play, shop, dine.”
She was also interested in the realisation of the proposed ICT within the JWC.
The ICT is well-positioned to capitalise on the potential of elevating the KK waterfront area to the status of a major transportation and tourist hub.
Liew said the ICT’s integration with commercial development can be a tourist destination by itself, so the focus should be on promoting attractions for those seeking leisure, recreational activities and cultural experiences.
“The development of such magnitude will also spur the state’s economic status through the creation of employment opportunities and higher spending.”
Liew is also looking forward to collaborations between her ministry and Suria Capital in efforts to drive Sabah’s tourism development to new heights.
Kota Kinabalu has been a port of call to over 40 cruise ships since the 1970s.