A big facelift awaits the Titiwangsa Lake Gardens here to turn it into an attractive tourist spot.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Kuala Lumpur was not just centred around KLCC and Dataran Merdeka."We want a new tourist destination in the city centre and we don’t have a proper waterfront area, hence the idea."
He indicated the area would be developed to include restaurants, street cafes and pubs surrounding the lake, similar to the Kuching and Langkawi waterfronts which were popular with tourists visiting Sarawak and Kedah.
All this and more, he said, would take place after the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007, which is targeting 20.1 million tourists and over RM44 billion in revenue. "We have to look beyond 2007 and start working on development plans from now because we are expecting 24 million tourists by 2010," he said.
The lake, however, will serve as the focal point in the city as the VMY 2007 will be launched there by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
A three-day festival has been planned from Jan 5 to 7 with various water-based activities and concerts by local artistes. The VMY launch on Jan 6 will coincide with the unveiling of Malaysia’s largest Ferris wheel, the "Eye on Malaysia". Work to erect the RM30-million wheel, also the world’s largest mobile Ferris wheel, is under way. "We will have Ferris rides overlooking the KL skyline, water screen display on Malaysia’s history, fun rides and activities every night for the next one year after the launch," said Adnan.
"We hope that more private firms would help realise our mission to have a waterfront in the city as the latest attraction." The Titiwangsa Lake Gardens was an abandoned mining pool back in the 70s.
Although the lake is popular for family outings and boating activities, it doesn’t have much to offer but a few restaurants and a green surrounding. It is located beside some of the country’s cultural and traditional icons like Istana Budaya, National Art Gallery and Sutra Dance Theatre.
"The lake is clean and beautiful and would serve as an ideal tourist spot," he said.Adnan, who was speaking at a media conference on the launch of VMY 2007, also said the ministry was looking at proposals to open up more night markets in the city."
We are trying to have more open markets around Titiwangsa and several other strategic locations in the city to attract the shopping crowd." Adnan said Jalan Kuantan at Titiwangsa would be closed from 7pm onwards on Jan 6.He said free shuttle service would be made available for the public from 4pm to 2am from Pekeliling bus station, KL Sentral, Ampang Park LRT station, Padang Merbok and Merdeka Stadium. The last two places are the designated parking areas.