A series of large-scale tourism developments are underway on the Indonesian island of Bintan, as it aims to secure a sustainable long-term future.
Gallant Ventures Ltd, which owns the entire northern coastline of Bintan, is creating two major developments that are set to transform the island. Treasure Bay is a 338-hectare integrated resort complex being developed by Landmarks Bhd, including a series of hotels, retail developments and attractions, while the Lagoi Bay development will cover a staggering 1,300 hectares.
Set to open in stages from the end of 2014, Lagoi Bay will include up to 10 hotels and resorts, including the luxury Sanchaya and Alila Villas Bintan, along with a Swiss-Belhotel Grand Lagoi and a series of smaller properties, possibly including a budget option.
Speaking to Travel Daily this week, Asad Shiraz, director of marketing at Bintan Resorts International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gallant Ventures, revealed that 75% of the Lagoi Bay development’s infrastructure is already complete, and that the island is now preparing for an influx of tourists. And this is expected to be partially driven by the fast-growing Indonesian domestic market.
“The domestic market is largely untapped,” said Asad. “The number of affluent people with the ability to travel and spend is growing fast, and we are looking to tap Indonesia’s potential.”
At present, approximately 45% of visitors to Bintan are from neighbouring Singapore, but Asad said it expects to attract more visitors from Asia’s emerging markets in future, including China and India, as well as Indonesia.
“In percentage terms Singapore will go down, but the overall pie will grow significantly,” he said.
In fact this “pie” is expected to double to one million visitors by 2017, when a new airport opens in Bintan in 2016. Garuda has already committed to the airport, but the Indonesian national carrier doesn’t have a monopoly at the hub, meaning it will be able to attract other airlines, including low-cost carriers like AirAsia. Asad also revealed that he has already received an inquiry from a Chinese charter airline with regards to launching flights to the island.
And guests to Bintan will not simply be offered a beach destination. Bintan Resorts International is creating a diverse range of attractions including rainforest canopy walks, seaplane tours and even a motocross circuit, as well as spa and retail offerings.
Malaysian casino operator Genting is also involved in the Treasure Bay project, and Asad revealed that a casino could be added to the development at a later date, if and when Indonesia relaxes its gaming laws.
“When Indonesia is ready [to allow gaming], Bintan will be first in line,” Asad said.
And this long-term vision is typical of Bintan Resorts International, which will continue developing all aspects of the island over the coming years and decades.
“We build the infrastructure first. We have ample water and power supplies, and sufficient waste management systems,” said Asad. “We’re in it for the long-term.”
Bintan secures long-term future with major developments