Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Growth in Malacca tourism

The tourism industry in Malacca holds huge potential and has generated employment opportunities, more income for businesses and helped improve the livelihood of locals.

And why not, when more than six million people visited the historical state last year and spent RM3bil during their stays. With the present tagline in Malacca’s tourism campaign being “Visiting Historical Melaka Means Visiting Malaysia,” 6.8 million tourists are expected this year with the anticipation that they will spend RM3.4bil.

Malacca is highly optimistic of the tourist numbers and extrapolations indicate the number will reach 8.2 million by 2010.

Happiness: Visitors alighting from a boat after a tour on Sungai Melaka.

Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam noted that, in ensuring the tourism sector progressed for the benefit of the state and its people, the state was in the midst of implementing several new high impact tourism projects.

Among them is the development of Sungai Melaka at a cost of RM320mil as a new growth centre that will parallel San Antonio River in the United States for its beauty and cleanliness.

Several value-added projects are to be established along the banks of Sungai Melaka, among others the Casa Del Rio Boutique Hotel worth RM85mil, a ferris wheel, Viking ship and trampoline bungy worth RM3.3mil, water wheel worth RM1.5mil, the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex valued at RM35mil and a marina worth RM25mil.

The others are the Taming Sari revolving tower in Bandar Hilir worth RM24mil that will begin operations in March, the Planetarium and the Malacca International Bowling Centre each valued at RM20mil and Batik House valued at RM4mil, with all being set up at the Malacca International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh.

Pristine: Sungai Melaka, which was previously a filthy waterway, has been cleaned and beautified.

The Malacca government through Tourism Malaysia, the Malacca State Tourism Action Committee and relevant agencies are always working out new ideas to turn Malacca into a compelling tourism centre in the region.

Even now, Malacca is the choice for many national and international events. This helps establish the state in the tourism map.

This year, several tourism itineraries have been lined up, including the Malacca Tourism Street Carnival at Hang Tuah Mall, Malacca International Regatta 2008, Sungai Melaka Fest, Malacca International Air Carnival and Malacca International Tourism Show.

The others are Light Up Celebration, Raptor Watch, Drums of The Malay Archipelago, Malacca Historical City International Run, San Pedro Fest and Songket and Batik Festival.

The state is giving emphasis to tourism events of international stature and is working to have the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) list Malacca as a world heritage site.

With the recognition, Malacca will remain as a tourism destination of choice for local and foreign tourists.

Toward this end, archaeological works on the Malacca Fort walls are being undertaken with an allocation of RM12.8mil from the Federal Government.

Apart from historical themes, Malacca also offers contemporary attractions like recreation centres, Crocodile Park, Mini Malaysia and Asean Park, Butterfly Park, Malacca Peacock and Bird Park, and Malacca Zoo.

There are more than 20 museums under the Malacca Museum Corporation and the private sector that have opened their doors to visitors from all over the world. Malacca is also a shopping heaven with many business outlets catering for the different tastes of the visitors.

Accommodation is of no problem because there are 5,096 hotel rooms, resort hotel rooms (2,458), chalets (484) and homestay rooms (136). Thus Malacca’s tourism industry will continue to prosper, bringing greater prosperity to the state and its people.

Source : STAR
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