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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysian theme park developer Sim Leisure names Phil Whittaker as new CEO

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysian theme park developer Sim Leisure Group (SLG) has announced Phil Whittaker as its new chief executive officer. As part of the announcement, Sim Choo Kheng has been also appointed as the new executive chairman.

Whittaker, who prior to this appointment served as strategic advisor and more recently as commercial director to the group, carries with him more than 25 years of knowledge and expertise in developing, launching, managing and restructuring sales, marketing, commercial and operations to deliver growth in several notable travel, leisure and entertainment-related organisations in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Speaking on his appointment, he said, “I am truly honoured to take on this appointment as CEO at Sim Leisure, as I am humbled to lead such a globally recognised and respected brand and build on the innovation and success that Sim has achieved as one of the industry’s leading leisure entrepreneurs and operators. I would like to thank Sim and the team for their faith and trust in me as I continue to leverage on my skills and experience to support and help to realise the ongoing expansion plans of the Sim Leisure Group.”

Meanwhile, Kheng will also oversee the Group’s strategic direction and the expansion of Sim Leisure’s brands, including the design and development of new projects locally and internationally, while liaising with key stakeholders.

Kheng said, “In many ways, these strategic appointments can be deemed a pivotal one in our mission to become the premier themed leisure company across the globe, as we train our targets and artillery on world domination! Those who know me can attest to the fact that I like to accomplish the impossible. So, we set out to make the impossible a reality, with our unique products where fun is measured in ‘smiles per hour’.”

In the near future, SLG is also planning to introduce greater industry representation on the board to lend their expertise and help champion SLG’s industry representation in several markets around the world.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Sim Leisure Group names first-ever celebrity ambassador Baki Zainal

Malaysia – Malaysia-based leisure entertainment specialist and theme parks developer and operator, Sim Leisure Group (SLG), has appointed celebrity host and TV presenter Baki Zainal as its first-ever brand ambassador. This appointment will see Zainal anchoring and championing prominent brands under the group, including its proprietary ESCAPE brand of nature-inspired theme parks.

Zainal, who has made significant strides in Malaysia’s entertainment industry with his talent and linguistic edge, is perhaps most known for his claim to fame as a multilingual TV host, conversing effortlessly in English, Bahasa Melayu, and Mandarin, amassing a wide-reaching audience and fan base. He is also known to be an avid traveller, adrenaline junkie, and thrill seeker, making his appointment as SLG’s brand ambassador a rather natural one.

Commenting on his ambassadorship, Zainal shared that he has always had a lot of respect for Sim Leisure Group, especially for the ESCAPE brand of themed attractions, as they are a fine example of a homegrown Malaysian success story, who have made their mark in the international travel and leisure industry. 

“And as a TV and travel show host, this is something I try to promote and portray – the multifaceted nature and richness of Malaysia and Malaysians. So, when I was approached by the group to be their first-ever brand ambassador, I did not hesitate to jump on the opportunity. It’s going to be exciting and I’m truly looking forward to working with them,” said Zainal. 

Meanwhile, Choo Kheng Sim, Sim Leisure Group’s founder and CEO, commented that they are thrilled to have Zainal on board as their first-ever brand ambassador, as they have had a wonderful working relationship with him in the past when he hosted the launch of many of their attractions. 

“In addition to his natural charm and magnetic personality, his spirit of excitement and adventure has truly stood out, making him the perfect fit for this role. Moreover, his involvement with various travel and tourism bodies around the world bodes well for the group’s ongoing expansion plans, not only in Malaysia, but also internationally. We’ve got a lot of plans in store and are already working with him on several engagements to take our brands and attractions to even greater heights,” said Sim.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Sim Leisure Group signs MoU to make theme park brand ESCAPE go global

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Malaysian-based Sim Leisure Group, a developer and operator of theme parks, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with partners from Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to make its theme park, ESCAPE, expand on a global scale. Through the MoU, these partners will source and secure funding for the ESCAPE brand of theme parks in their respective territories.

The MOU signing ceremony which was held at the Malaysian Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 was witnessed by senior representatives from Sim Leisure’s partners, and several industry experts from the entrepreneurship development, tourism, and creative economy sectors.

Sim Choo Kheng, founder and CEO of Sim Leisure, commented on the global expansion of the company he founded, saying he believes this is truly a coming of age for ESCAPE as the company launches the brand internationally. Kheng said he is very excited at the prospects of what they can achieve together with their partners in Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

“We had plans to take the ESCAPE brand internationally earlier. However, we were delayed for the last two years due to the pandemic. But now, as travel restrictions are eased, it’s finally time to venture into international markets. These territories will add to the ESCAPE park that is already under construction in Sri Lanka and an ESCAPE park that has recently been approved to start development in China,” Kheng said.

The MOU signing was also held in conjunction with Penang Week which was witnessed by Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak.

Razak commended Kheng by saying, “Sim Leisure is a good example of how a Malaysian company can be successful on the world stage, establishing their Middle East HQ in Dubai some 20 years ago and having since delivered over 300 unique international theme park and attraction design and build projects around the world.”

The ESCAPE theme park is expected to attract more tourists as it will be one of the only Asian attraction brands to be exported internationally.