Monday, November 19, 2007

Pesta Sungai Melaka attracts more than 70,000 visitors

River city: A river cruise boat ferrying tourists in a 30-minute journey on the river.

THE tourism industry here has a bright future with the Malacca River rehabilitated and the introduction of more exciting activities.

This was evident at the recent Pesta Sungai Melaka 2007, an eight-day festival along the banks of the river, which attracted more than 70,000 visitors.

In launching the festival, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the state was not banking on its past glory to sell Malacca River as the RM91.2mil beautification project launched last year would bring the river on par with the rivers in Venice, Italy, and San Antonio, Texas.

Fun rides: A decorated boat waiting for people to board.
Over 30 activities were held during the festival including fun-filled activities like wall-climbing, flying fox and archery for the more adventurous at the river mouth along Jalan Quayside in Bandar Hilir.

For others, there were aqua bikes, kayaking and island-hopping on boats.

There were also fireworks displays, a decorated boat parade, motorbike and trishaw parades, traditional games and river cruise trips.

Shanta Devi, 43, from Seremban, said the timing of the river festival close to the Deepavali holidays proved right to attract people.

“I came here with my family after we had done all our Deepavali shopping. There are so many activities and my three children kept pestering me to allow them to get on the ferris wheel and do the bungee jump,” she said.

Celebrative: Various traditional dance performances were held during the pesta in Padang Rempah.
The popular ferris wheel dubbed the Eye on Malacca, bungee jump and the pirate ship are the latest attractions launched during the festival.

Newlywed couple, Isaac Fernandez, 26, and Lucia Hernandez, 25, from Spain, said they were impressed by the beautiful and colourful surroundings at the riverbank.

“It was quite romantic taking the 20-minute river cruise with the colourful lights along the banks and we hope to come again for next year’s festival,” said Isaac.

Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam said the festival would help the state's tourism industry soar to greater heights.

He said the festival would be an annual event, adding that next year’s event would be bigger and better.

Source : STAR
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