Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tourist arrivals in Malacca up by 1.1m

The week-long ‘Festa San Juang and Festa San Pedro 2007’ celebrations at the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca.

The week-long ‘Festa San Juang and Festa San Pedro 2007’ celebrations at the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca.

More than 5.5 million tourists entered the state last year, an increase of 1.1 million from the previous year.

Of the total, 1.2 million were foreigners, representing an increase of 10 per cent from the year before. June, August and November saw the highest number of tourists last year, with over 500,000 recorded in each of the months.

This was largely thanks to the Ikan Bakar Carnival, Festa San Juang and Festa San Pedro (in June), the Kite Flying Festival, Merdeka celebrations (in August) and the school holidays (in November).

As such, Visit Malaysia Year 2007 is considered a success for the state, which is touted by the state government as the place "where it all began" with the tagline "Visit Historic Malacca Means Visit Malaysia". There are plans to turn the city into the country's foremost tourism destination by 2010.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said recently that the state had focused mostly on encouraging domestic tourism.
He said the state's efforts to explore "emerging markets" such as Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, India, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea had paid off handsomely.

"From a small state which saw tourist arrivals of about 1.7 million in 1999, we have managed to triple the figure to over 5.5 million, last year.

"Our tagline has worked miracles. I do not see any reason why the number of tourists arriving in the state should decrease in the future.

"In fact, we are moving forward in terms of tourism with programmes such as the Melaka River Festival, Melaka International Regatta, Melaka International Air Carnival, Melaka International Tourism Show and One District One Industry Showcase."

The largest number of tourist arrivals in Malacca was from Southeast Asia, followed by West Asia, which saw an increase of over 10,000 tourists last year compared to the previous year, and Europe which had an increase of over 10 per cent.

Besides culture, history and heritage, Ali said, the healthcare industry was another strong selling point for the historic city.

"Between 2001 and 2006, the number of people coming to Malacca to get medical attention increased by 60 per cent to 436,200."

Source : NST
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