Genting Highlands. The idea to build a hill resort near the capital city of Kuala Lumpur came from a late Malaysian Chinese businessman, Lim Goh Tong who was inspired by the fresh air in Cameron Highlands during his business trip there in 1963 for a hydroelectric power project.
The rationale was that Cameron Highlands was too far away from Kuala Lumpur, and therefore building a mountain resort nearer to Kuala Lumpur would have excellent business potential. After researching Kuala Lumpur’s maps and surrounding areas, Lim identified Mount Ulu Kali in Genting Sempah, 58 km from Kuala Lumpur, to be ideal for his plan. He set up a private company called Genting Highlands Berhad (now Genting Group) on 27 April 1965 with the late politician Mohamad Noah Omar and successfully obtained approval for the alienation of 12,000 acres (4,900 ha) and 2,800 acres (1,100 ha) of land from the Pahang and Selangor State Government respectively between 1965 and 1970.
On 18 August 1965, a technical and construction team began to construct the access road from Genting Sempah to the peak of Mount Ulu Kali. On 31 March 1969, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister, laid the foundation stone for the company’s pioneer hotel, marking the completion of the access road to Genting Highlands Resort. The resort was also granted the casino license the same year by the Malaysian government to develop its gambling industry. An area midway to the peak was turned into the Gohtong Jaya township. In 1971, the first hotel at Genting Highlands was completed and was named Highlands Hotel (now renamed as Theme Park Hotel).
Since then, Genting Highlands Resort has expanded, with six more hotels being built within 2017. They are Genting Hotel (renamed as Genting Grand, 1981), Awana (1984), Resort Hotel (1992), Highlands Hotel (1997), First World Hotel (2001), and Crockfords (2017). Two cable car systems were built to provide transport to the hilltop: Awana Skyway built in 1977 with a length of 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi) and Genting Skyway cable car system built in 1997 with a length of 3.38 kilometres (2.10 mi). The resort ventured into the amusement park and entertainment industry by launching an indoor theme park in 1992, an outdoor theme park in 1994, and Arena of Stars in 1998.
In 2013, Genting Group implemented a 10-year master plan named Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP) to develop, expand, enhance and refurbish hotels, theme parks, and infrastructure at Genting Highlands. The project with different phases involves a new 1,300 rooms hotel expansion to the current First World Hotel, a new 10,000 seats arena, renovation of the First World Plaza Indoor Theme Park, and reconverting the Genting Outdoor Theme Park to 20th Century Fox World.
A dispute with 20th Century Fox which was purchased by The Walt Disney Company resulted in the theme park being rebranded as Genting SkyWorlds. In 2019, the refurbishment of the infrastructure at the resort have been completed, with only the outdoor theme park that is left renovating and is expected to be completed in early 2021.