KUCHING: Sarawak Economic Development Corporation’s (SEDC) latest project is an 18-storey hotel strategically located at the central business district of Kuching, just next to the Riverside Shopping Complex and the Kuching Waterfront.
“It will comprise 268 guestrooms as well as two business meeting rooms. All these rooms will come with free wireless internet connectivity. There will also be a mezzanine floor for a food and beverage outlet,” SEDC chairman, Datuk Talib Zulpilip explained in an exclusive interview.
When asked of the management of the upcoming hotel, Talib highlighted that it would be self-managed by the group, as SEDC has had up to 30 years of experience in running hotels such as Grand Margherita Hotel and Riverside Majestic Hotel.
“The hotel will offer quality services with strong influences of the Sarawak brand of warm, friendly hospitality,” he added, emphasising that the hotel will showcase ‘all things Sarawak’ to further highlight local culture. It will also provide guests with a view of the iconic Dewan Undangan Negeri building.
The development cost of the hotel stands at RM60 million and it is expected to completed by July 2014, with over 24 months of construction works.
Talib said that the main reason SEDC was developing the hotel at this point of time was to prepare for the influx of both foreign and domestic tourists into Sarawak which was expected to reach four million this year and exceed that number in 2013.
When asked about his view on the competition in the hospitality industry, Talib said, “There are definitely a number of new hotels and lodges mushrooming in Kuching in the past year and there will be more new ones in the near future.
“Not only has this indicated strong business confidence for the hotel and lodging business and tourism in general, but it also means that travellers have ample choices when it comes to lodging and this is good for tourism and the local economy.
The chairman also explained that there were different segments when it came to hotels and the lodges that had been mushrooming were not in direct competition with SEDC’s hotels.
Furthermore, statistics showed that there were only a total of 10,128 registered rooms in all divisions with up to 58 registered hotels, indicating plenty of room for growth.
The new hotel, like the group’s existing ones, will cater to the medium- to high-end tourist segment. He believed that there was always ample opportunities for hotels to distinct themselves from the ordinary through offering value, superior services and a unique design.
Talib expressed his optimism on the overall industry performance next year, noting that, in the near future, based on international tourism patterns, there is a good possibility that a lot of tourists will choose Asian countries.
“I foresee that Sarawak can benefit from this trend as there will be a lot of foreign tourists attracted to the state because of our rich and colourful culture, adventure and unspoiled natural themes,” he explained.