Terengganu to diversify tourism products next year

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government is going to prioritise diversifying its tourism products next year to boost the state’s economy.

There is optimism in the economic contribution from the tourism sector as Terengganu recorded a 9.9 per cent increase in visitors from January to August this year, against 4.5 million visitors last year.

The state government is allocating another RM4.5 million to boost the sector next year.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said recently that Terengganu was blessed with natural heritage, culture, arts and a variety of products, as well as destinations to make it a prime destination for domestic and international tourists.

He said RM4 million would be set aside to promote signature and prestigious events involving the local community.

“Pulau Bidong which is also known as ‘Little Saigon’ will be transformed into a cultural tourism product.

“We should also be proud of Tasik Kenyir which registered 776,000 visitors last year.

“Tasik Kenyir is also home to 12 species of hornbills and we have aptly declared the 260sq km lake dotted with 340 islands as Kenyir Hornbills Valley,” he said.

Meanwhile, state Tourism, Culture and Information Technology chairman Ariffin Deraman said the government planned to create a cultural village at the state museum in Losong, which is expected to be realised early next year.

“It is going to become the latest tourism product in Terengganu.”

He added that tourism in Terengganu was not confined to sun, sea and beaches, but included traditional foods, handicraft and other products that appeal to visitors even during the monsoon season.

(FilePic) Terengganu Tourism, Culture and Information Technology chairman Ariffin Deraman said the government planned to create a cultural village at the state museum in Losong. -NSTP/GHAZALI KORI.

“The Terengganu drawbridge is the latest iconic attraction in the city and it has drawn many visitors even before its launch in August,” he added.

Ariffin also revealed that Tasik Kenyir in Hulu Terengganu and Taman Tamadun Islam (Islam Civilisation Park) at Pulau Wan Man were among the most popular tourist sites in the state, attracting a combined 1.2 million visitors, the majority of whom were locals.

To show its commitment is diversifying its tourism products, the State Museum, for example, has introduced interactive programmes that involve the participation of families, including an “explore race” around the complex.

The entry fee has been set at the affordable rate of RM5 for adults and RM2 for uniformed schoolchildren. Apart from observing static displays, visitors can participate in fun-filled activities, including attending pre-arranged English classes.

Museums are often associated with dead objects, fossils, artefacts and long-gone cultures.

“But, as the biggest museum in the country, we have to think of ways to make every visit a memorable experience, other than just a walkabout to observe the displays,” said Ramlah Latiff, the museum’s assistant division head (exhibition and education).

The museum’s current exhibition on burial customs, she said, had become a major draw as visitors from all over the country had become more interested in various funeral traditions.

“December is the best month to introduce such activities because it coincides with the long school holiday period,” Ramlah said, adding that the activities at the museum had also attracted foreigners.

In November alone, the state museum attracted more than 40,000 visitors, mostly locals.