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Sabah's Mengalum for world’s first net ­zero carbon island resort
Published on: Saturday, January 27, 2024
By: David Thien
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Sabah's Mengalum for world’s first net ­zero carbon island resort
Pulau Mengalum that was visited by explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the 1500s.
Taiwan’s Sinyi Group is on track to unveil the world’s first unique net zero carbon island resort on Mengalum Island. 

Positioned as an ultra-luxury five-star resort, it stands 58km northwest of the state capital, making waves in the global tourism arena.

Spearheaded by Sinyi Travel & Tourism Development Group Director, Howard Chou, the project takes inspiration from Mengalum Island’s historical significance, notably visited by explorer Ferdinand Magellan during his first circumnavigation of the world.

Situated in the South China Sea, setting itself apart with a reputed zero-carbon status, Mengalum is poised to draw high net worth eco-friendly tourists and local visitors.

Sinyi Travel & Tourism Development Group Director, Howard Chou

This development is poised to place Sabah prominently on the global tourism map, attracting global talents, investors and the affluent to experience this unique destination.

The substantial investment and dedication of manpower by the Sinyi Group aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), marking the company as a leader on the global stage in ecological and sustainable initiatives.

To achieve net zero, the resort minimises reliance on fossil fuels, primarily using renewable energy sources like solar panels, with future plans for green energy means such as wind and wave generation.

Water harvesting and on-site afforestation for carbon sequestration are integral components of the sustainability initiatives.

The eco-resort aims to provide a net-zero carbon emissions experience, ensuring visitors leave no significant carbon footprint. Conservation efforts are directed at restoring flora and fauna, including marine life around the island.

Howard Chou highlighted the novelty of the project, stating that there is currently no operational net-zero island resort worldwide. The Mengalum Island eco-resort is a much-desired novel addition to global tourism.

Sinyi Group’s ongoing conservation efforts on the Island include reforestation, sea grass planting, and rehabilitation of coral reefs impacted by blast fishing.

The Sinyi Group Headquarters in Taipei.

The proposed Intercontinental hotel in Papar.

The project will feature an educational centre, including a turtle nursery where turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. The Sabah government has welcomed Sinyi Group’s plans, emphasising its positive impact on the region’s tourism industry. 

With an affirmative response from Howard Chou regarding the company’s control over the island, a MoU has been signed with the Sabah Wildlife Department and potentially with other entities like Sabah Parks.

Sinyi Group’s ambitious plans extend beyond Mengalum Island, with the completion of a 450-room Intercontinental Hotel Sabah Kota Kinabalu Resort in 2027.

Additionally, their Pulau Mengalum project, managed by an as-yet-undetermined professional resort brand, is targeted for completion by 2030, coinciding with the United Nations SDGs.

Tourists to the exclusive Pulau Mengalum resort will travel from the Intercontinental Hotel Sabah Kota Kinabalu Resort jetty, emphasising luxury and sustainability. The eco-friendly Intercontinental Hotel Sabah Kota Kinabalu Resort, managed by IHG Hotels & Resorts, is set to adopt environmentally-friendly practices, offering immersive, close-to-nature stays steeped in Borneo culture.

Sustainability initiatives include recycled water usage, local sourcing of goods, an on-site food garden, and the use of low-carbon materials. The Intercontinental, conveniently located from just a 25-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu International Airport, will offer a range of facilities and activities, contributing to a sustainable and memorable experience.

In a commitment to local talents and international standards, both resorts will prioritise staffing by local talents and experienced expatriates. 

The Sinyi Group, with its 6,000 staff, has been a human-centric company with a sustainability focus for over four decades.

This exclusive net zero carbon eco-resort at Pulau Mengalum is poised to make Sabah one of the world’s most desired tourism destinations, offering a unique blend of luxury, sustainability, and environmental consciousness. 

Unlike Sabah’s east coast tourism islands, the west coast destination has not faced any security concerns, making it an attractive proposition for global travelers seeking an unparalleled experience.

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