East Timor to be Home for New Golf Resort

The developer that built Malaysia's Sutera Harbour resort plan to build the first luxury resort in East Timor. Edward Ong, the principal of the Singapore-based Ock Group, will build the soon-to-be-named resort on a coastal setting outside East Timor's capital of Dili. The resort will consist of a 350-room hotel (the nation's first five-star hotel), a business park, and a 27-hole golf complex.

The resort will be modeled after the 348-acre Sutera Harbour resort in Sabah, Malaysia, which Ong opened in 2000. Sutera Harbour has two hotels (956 total rooms), a marina, a spa, and a 27-hole, Graham Marsh-designed golf complex.

East Timor, Asia's newest county, is in Indonesia, 400 miles northwest of Australia. It won its independence in 2002 after considerable violence and internal strife. The country is still struggling to build an economy - its unemployment rate is said to be 40 percent - and it lacks dependable electrical power and necessities such as a large airport and office space.

Initially, the resort will target business travelers. But Ong hopes East Timor will eventually generate enough tourism to warrant the construction of more hotel rooms and other attractions. "It's a virgin place that people have not explored yet," said Ong, who hopes to open the resort in 2012.

This story originally appeared in Asian Golf Business.