REMAINING FRESH: New attractions ensure that tourists become frequent visitors to the state
ARE the tourism-related development plans which would be implemented in Malacca a waste, or would it be something which would hugely benefit the people, regardless of their political beliefs?
This seems to be one of the major topics being played up in the state as it heads towards the 13th General Election.
The opposition parties in Malacca, for their own political survival, have been harping on various tourism-related projects without realising that they are also the ones who benefit from the tremendous surge of tourists to the historical city.
Last year, Malaysia saw tourist arrivals of 25 million, of which 13.7 million visited Malacca compared with 12.1 million in 2011.
Malacca -- which was awarded World Heritage City Status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) -- continues to attract not just foreign tourists but also locals as well.
One may wonder why the Malacca government needs to have so many new projects for tourism, rather than relying on the historical sites, culture, arts and tradition left behind by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, or even focusing on the unique Baba Nyonya and Melaka Chitti communities.
Truth be told, if there are no new attractions, Malacca would not be a destination which is repeatedly frequented by tourists.
Projects such as the Malacca River Cruise, beautification of Sungai Melaka, Melaka Wonderland, Menara Taming Sari, Melaka Botanical Garden and the more than 25 museums in the state have been attracting tourists in droves, and the spillover effect has benefited people of all walks of life and political ideology.
Regardless if one is a bullock cart operator, trishaw rider, selling pisang goreng, souvenir shop owner, restaurant proprietor, tourist guide, painter, artist, hotelier or even a vendor of the small stalls located along the bustling Jonker Street, tourism is what supports them and their families.
In this regard, the tourists who come do not look at political ideology, but at what is being sold or the services offered.
Thus, the claim that millions of ringgit which the state government had spent on tourism have gone to waste, as raised by the opposition, does not arise as everyone in Malacca had benefited directly or indirectly from this lucrative venture.
And in moving forward and creating more attractions in the state through tourism-related projects, such as the RM30 million Melaka Bird Aviary, the state should not be seen as creating white elephants.
The aviary is expected to attract about 500,000 tourists a year. It also offers visitors an opportunity to walk into a well-maintained tropical rainforest incorporated with beautiful flora and fauna which is ideal for tourism purposes.
What about projects in the pipeline, such as the RM300 million Malacca Sea World theme park which would feature a gigantic aquarium that would be home to marine wildlife such as whales and dolphins? Would it not help boost the tourism industry in Malacca?
Unlike other states and countries that rely on one or two attractions to rope in tourists, Malacca offers a unique and different experience with a constant change of new tourism products.
With a promise to look forward to something new in every visit to the historical city, the state would soon showcase mock-ups of dinosaurs from the time they first appeared during the Triassic period, approximately 230 million years ago.
To be known as the Malacca Jurassic Park, the RM200 million project would be built at the reclaimed coastal area of Klebang which is known at "Dataran 1Malaysia" or 1Malaysia Square.
The Malacca Jurassic Park would feature mock-ups of some 200 species of dinosaurs. They would not be merely gigantic concrete structures, as the models would look life-like and will be able to move with the use of hydraulics and electronic components. It would be the first of its kind in Asia.
Besides the Malacca Jurassic Park and Malacca Sea World, Dataran 1Malaysia would also house the RM2 million Map of Malaysia Square, the RM2.7 million Malacca Bus Restaurant and Chalet and also three football fields.
This is what the government has planned for the future and it is up to us to ensure that Malacca continues to remain relevant in the years to come.
Read more: Malacca tourism projects benefit all - Columnist - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/malacca-tourism-projects-benefit-all-1.248478#ixzz2QThZzE1P