Since the COVID-19 pandemic stabilized in 2022, Country Garden Forest City, located next to the second border crossing between Singapore and Malaysia, is gradually regaining its former vitality.
On the heels of the pandemic in Malaysia having stabilized since last year and the country having gradually relaxed its control policies, many Singaporeans and Malaysians have been posting comments and sharing their travel experiences around the region on Facebook and other social media.
One locale with frequent mentions is Country Garden Forest City, located in Johor Bahru. The destination has been attracting not only local travelers but also many tourists coming from afar.
An integrated, intelligent and ecological city
Forest City in Malaysia’s Iskandar special economic zone has been gaining in popularity since it was opened to the public in 2016.
The community is an integrated, intelligent and ecological city jointly developed and operated by leading real estate developer Country Garden and an associate company of the Johor State Government.
Forbes magazine ranked it as one of the “five new cities that are set to shake up the future”. Forest City, located at 1°N, boasts a superior geographical location and good climate.
With the vertical green wall, sky garden and rooftop garden system that weaves throughout the city, Forest City has built a horizontal green area covering 2.86 million square meters and a vertical greening landscape of about 256,000 linear meters.
To date, Forest City has in place real estate development covering some four million square meters and has completed nearly 36 km of roads.
Existing property owners hail from more than 40 countries and regions including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Themed events at Marina Beach
Forest City’s Commercial Street and Marina Beach are the sites of multiple themed events every month, including the Car Boot Sale, Pet Park and Halloween Party, creating a great weekend destination for local residents.
In the summer of 2022, the water park became the most popular leisure destination for residents and locals. The city’s administrative officials revealed that, according to statistics on tickets sold, Forest City attracted more than 3,000 visitors per month on average from August to October last year.
During the local school holiday in September, the water park attracted more than 6,000 visitors.
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism on February 6 this year issued a directive allowing on a pilot basis the resumption of outbound group tours for Chinese citizens to a number of countries, including Malaysia, where tourism is a pillar industry.
Strong China-Malaysia relations
With the resumption in full swing, the Malaysian tourism industry is looking forward to and warmly welcomes the arrival of Chinese tourists.
Zhang Li, Deputy Consul General of China in Penang, pointed out that 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Malaysia comprehensive strategic partnership and next year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
China has expressed its willingness to work with Malaysia to raise bilateral relations to a new level. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia expects a significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia, with the target of receiving 5 million Chinese tourists this year.
To meet the demand from the latest tourism boom, Forest City has further expanded the scope of its commercial offerings, including;
- the opening of the Forest City Transportation Center, which connects many attractions on and off the island and is the terminus for various means of transport that runs through the entire city
- the opening of the MJ Health Screening Center; the opening of various restaurants, convenience stores and duty-free shops on the island, adding convenience to residents and visitors alike
- Shattuck-St.Mary’s Forest City International School which hosts students from more than 10 countries and regions.
Ir. Hj. Syarul Izam, Vice President of Forest City, said that with the arrival of an increasing number of international visitors, Forest City will continue to upgrade existing and build additional support facilities and entertainment venues to create an immersive eco-friendly experience of coastal resort life at 1°N, making it a popular short-haul tourist destination with a number of unique characteristics.