Sea VTL with Singapore ‘a big game changer’ for Desaru Coast


Recognised as one of TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places of 2021, Desaru Coast Destination Resort (Desaru Coast) has reinvented the future of meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) to offer fully customisable events that will inspire, rejuvenate and reconnect people.

Through “MICE Reinvented”, Desaru Coast introduces five distinct event pillars for all occasions: Corporate Events, Reimagined; Future-proof Conferences & Exhibitions;  Wanderlust Destination Weddings & Celebrations; Sports & Such and Nature & Nurture.

Situated on the eastern coast of Johor, Malaysia, Desaru Coast boasts a portfolio of some of the most coveted international five-star resorts to extend perfect event venues that can be repurposed for any MICE need.

Collectively, the destination holds an inventory of close to 800 rooms, indoor event spaces that can accommodate a total of more than 2300 delegates, two award-winning world-class golf courses and the region’s largest waterpark that spans along 17 kilometres beachfront and unbounded, wide- open spaces for endless possibilities for events.

Furthermore, as an integrated destination, delegates can stay at any one resort and yet spread activities and experiences across any of the other three resorts, attractions and outdoor experiences.

“Just as the pandemic redesigned the way we live; it has driven us to relook and rethink how events will look like in the future. Leveraging our portfolio of assets as an international destination in the world where people seek inspiration, rejuvenation and reconnections, Desaru Coast has reimagined all possible spaces and experiences across the destination to offer a multitude of integrated indoor and outdoor programmes. Future MICE at Desaru Coast can be designed with an enchanting mix of indoor and outdoor experiences to include all five-star facilities along with curated activities at the beach, forest, mangroves, local villages, golf courses, ballrooms and conference centre,” said Roslina Arbak, Managing Director and CEO Desaru Coast Destination Resorts.

Corporate Events, Reimagined at Desaru Coast

Breaking the mould of traditional corporate events, Desaru Coast has deconstructed the format and experience of off-site senior-level company meetings by removing the conventional configuration of arrival to check-in to conference or business meetings, followed by networking dinners and team-building exercises.

Corporate Events, Reimagined first takes delegates on curated and elevated experiences at the beach, the forest, the golf course or even the spa before the business agenda to help provide a different perspective and a rejuvenated approach to high-level corporate retreats.

By upending this format, Corporate Events, Reimagined offers delegates unique experiences to be inspired, rejuvenated, and reconnect.

Future-proof Conferences & Exhibitions

The fully equipped Desaru Coast Conference Centre can cater to 1400 people with safe social distancing. Further to this, the destination’s outdoor spaces offer larger areas that can easily be converted for conferences requiring more extensive staging and build-up of additional conference space, making it possible for meetings and exhibitions to adopt a hybrid of an indoor and outdoor model and at the same time accommodating a wider attendance.

Wanderlust Destination Weddings & Celebrations

17km of pristine beachfront makes Desaru Coast the ideal destination for beach weddings of any scale. Indoor weddings can be hosted at Desaru Coast Conference Centre, any of the three large ballrooms at the destination’s five-star resorts and at one of its 21 restaurants and cafes for more intimate affairs.

Similarly, with the luxury resorts of the destination offering top-rated facilities, multi-generational gatherings and special celebrations can also be curated to suit the needs of all parties and guests’ profiles.

Sports & Such

Set within kilometres of white-sandy beaches and long scenic stretches of roads in the greater Desaru area, the destination has quickly gained a reputation as a sporting hotspot for all types of land and water sports. With ample choices of accommodation, facilities and easy connectivity to the region, Desaru Coast has the capacity and space for mage-size outdoor sporting and lifestyle events.

Already on the calendar for next year are two major international sporting events – L’Etape by Tour de France and Desaru Coast IRONMAN. In 2019, the destination hosted Desaru International Bike Week that drew over 45,000 bikers and visitors over a weekend.

Events such as car and fashion shows, music, food and art festivals that require safer outdoor spaces can design imaginative events at Desaru Coast.

Nature & Nurture

The stretches of pristine beaches on the South China Sea and rich bio-diverse surrounding of Desaru Coast allows the destination to offer exceptional eco experiences and edutourism – activities that blend education and tourism learning experiences, to be incorporated into its MICE mix of activities. School trips, NGO learning expeditions and corporate retreats can combine nature excursions into agendas to educate and drive awareness of conservation and sustainability.

Easy Accessibility

Desaru Coast is a four-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, and approximately three and a half hours from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Senai International Airport is an hour away, and Changi International Airport – one of the busiest airports in the world – is nearby within a two-hour drive.

Roslina said: “As an international destination ideal for MICE, Desaru Coast is well connected via land, air and sea. With three international airports within Desaru Coast’s reach, it is accessible to a regional population catchment of an estimated 624 million within ASEAN in a 4-hour flight radius and a population catchment of 3.8 billion within an 8-hour flight radius.

“Our soon-to-be opened Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal will offer easy fly & ferry options for arrivals into Singapore to attend events at the destination.”

The possible sea (vaccinated travvel lane (VTL) between Singapore and Malaysia will be a “game changer” for the attractions,” she added.

Her team also manages the Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal, a newly constructed facility which is a proposed landing point for the sea VTL between Singapore and Desaru.

“We have now completed the construction of Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal and are currently at the preoperational stage. The Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal will be a game changer for us,” said Roslina.

“As the latest entry point into Malaysia, our ferry services will bring guests from Singapore right to the doorstep of Desaru Coast destination resort in just over one hour. For travellers, this option significantly reduces touch points and minimises the need to drive too far or to take a flight.”

Roslina explained that the new ferry terminal will be able to accommodate 300 people at a time. It will also have facilities for travellers to clear immigration and for the Ministry of Health to conduct COVID-19 screening.

She added that the ferry ride between Desaru Coast and Tanah Merah in Singapore will take around 90 minutes.

However, Roslina acknowledged that Desaru Coast “will have to wait” for both the governments of Singapore and Malaysia to work out the details before the sea VTL may be launched.

“We still have to observe certain applications and processes that both sides must be comfortable with before we can actually commence operations. I hope sooner than later of course because the product is ready,” she said.

“We do have target dates but I think the fact that the two governments are having a conversation on trying to work out the approval processes, that’s positive. I would not like to pre-empt the date of start of operations.”

Roslina also said that as travel gradually resumes, Desaru Coast is prime for MICE. “We now look forward to boosting confidence in the industry with MICE Reinvented at Desaru Coast,” she said.

For information on MICE Reinvented, please contact Destination Concierge, [email protected].

Desaru Coast

Desaru Coast is curated as a new destination resort in Malaysia with a portfolio of globally renowned hotels and resorts, namely Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and One&Only Desaru Coast.

The destination is also home to Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast – one of the world’s biggest waterparks, Desaru Coast Conference Centre – a fully equipped conference facility, The Els Club Desaru Coast – 45 holes of golf in total with two distinct clubs, Ocean Course and Valley Course, and Desaru Coast Riverside – a 23-acre water-front landscaped retail and lifestyle village.

To add to its award-winning experiences, the integrated destination resort has earned the accolade as one of TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places of 2021, a list comprising 100 of the magazine’s top destinations from around the world. It provides an indulgent getaway for the discerning leisure and business traveller alike.

Located in the south-eastern region of the country, in the state of Johor, Desaru Coast spans over 3,900 acres along a pristine 17 km beachfront that faces eastwards over the clear ocean waters. The destination is set amid a rich bio-diverse location and is easily accessible via road, air and sea.

Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn. Bhd. is the master developer of Desaru Coast and is a subsidiary of Desaru Development Corporation Sdn. Bhd. within the Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd. group of companies.

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