The tourism sector was the main revenue earner for Melaka last year, contributing RM4.4 billion from 8.9 million tourists who visited the state.
State Tourism, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Seet Har Cheow said this figure was higher than that achieved in 2008 where 7.2 million tourists contributed RM4 billion to the state.
"Melaka targets 8.2 million tourists his year, which is less than last year's figure in view of the economic slowdown," he said at the "Jom Ke Melaka" tourism promotion drive Thursday organised in conjunction with the 13th Malaysia Games (Sukma) to be held here.
Also present at the function were Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaacob and Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said.
Seet said that between 1999 and 2009, 47.25 million tourists had visited Melaka with an average annual increase of almost 20 per cent.
Most of the tourists who visited Melaka were from China, Indonesia and Singapore, besides Europe.
Seet said Melaka which was chosen to host the 10-day 2010 Sukma Games from June 10 was expected to see about 500,000 visitors during this period, with 198 units of accommodation available, offering 11,215 rooms.
"These accommodation include first-class hotels, resorts, chalets, budget hotels and homestay throughout the state."
He said to further boost the tourism industry in Melaka, the state was given a facelift with the Batu Berendam Airport upgraded to become the Melaka International Airport (MIA), which was officially opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Feb 4.
Besides the Sukma Games in June, Melaka will also organise various tourism events such as the three-day Melaka International Air Carnival 2010 from June 4 at the MIA.
"So far, we have received 100 entries involving 31 small aircraft and four helicopters from Malaysia and other countries like Singapore and Indonesia," Seet said.
Source : Bernama
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