JOHOR BARU: Johor is poised to become Malaysia's "theme park capital" when Asia's first Legoland theme park at Nusajaya opens next month.
This will signify the emergence of Iskandar Malaysia and Johor as a major tourist destination locally and in the region.
Following the opening of the RM750 million Legoland, Iskandar Malaysia will receive another attraction with the opening of a family theme park in Puteri Harbour in November.
The two international standard theme parks will be major attractions to millions of domestic and foreign tourists planning to visit Iskandar Malaysia and Johor.
According to Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Iskandar Malaysia could realise its huge potential in the tourism sector through the implementation of several infrastructure projects.
"We believe Iskandar Malaysia will provide the perfect tourist destination for affordable leisure at competitive prices in the Southeast Asian region and Asia-Pacific."
He was speaking at a briefing on the Puteri Harbour family theme park by Khazanah Nasional subsidiary, Themed Attractions and Resort (TAR) Sdn Bhd recently.
The Puteri Harbour family theme park, located in Nusajaya and built at a cost of RM115 million, will feature popular animation characters such as Hello Kitty, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu and Thomas and Friends.
It will also house Lat's Place, Malaysia's first restaurant of the nation's favourite cartoonist Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, better known as Lat.
Apart from the two family theme parks, TAR is also planning to open two more theme parks at the Desaru holiday resort in east Johor.
The two parks in Desaru -- Ocean Splash and Ocean Quest -- will be built by TAR at a cost of RM267 million and are expected to be completed and open to the public by mid-2014.
Tourism industry observers have labelled Johor as the "theme park capital of Malaysia", following the launch of one theme park after another in the southern state.
Iskandar Malaysia, according to Ismail, was always working towards attracting more park operators to operate in the special economic zone to add to the existing theme parks.
"Irda is always on the lookout to have more theme parks in Iskandar Malaysia and beyond, which can cater to family-type entertainment and education." Bernama