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32 historical sites in Pahang to be gazetted as National Heritage Sites - April 18, 2017

KUANTAN: The tourism industry in Pahang received a big boost as 32 historical sites throughout the state will soon be gazetted as National Heritage Sites to attract visitors.

Pahang Tourism and Culture committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said the state government on Oct 5 last year had agreed for the sites to be officially gazetted under the National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645).

He said the sites, located in 11 districts in the state, include those in former mining town Sungai Lembing, which was once the largest, longest and deepest underground tin mine.

"The Tourism and Culture Ministry, through the Heritage Commissioner, regularly hold discussions with the state government to preserve such places (heritage and historical sites) of interest which will serve as a crowd puller.

"The ministry is conducting studies to highlight various tourism products including in Kampung Budu (Lipis) and Pulau Tawar (Jerantut), which are historical sites linked with legendary Pahang warrior Mat Kilau," he said.

He was replying to a question from Lee Chean Chung(DAP-Semambu) on efforts taken by the state government to promote historical towns in the state, during the state assembly proceedings today.

On Visit Pahang Year 2017, Sharkar said the state is targeting to attract 15 million tourists this year and to generate revenue of about RM10 billion from the tourism.

He said Tourism Pahang has spent RM5 million on promotional activities at all districts in Pahang, including distributing pamphlets and conducting road shows both in Malaysia, and abroad.

Meanwhile, Felda settlers at Felda Kechau 6, Lipis, can enjoy better water supply by the end ofnext month when upgrading works at the Felda Kechau 6 water treatment plant is completed.

Replying to a question from Datuk Mustapa Long (BN-Padang Tengku), State Felda Affairs committee chairman Datuk Abu Bakar Harun said the upgrading works involved changing the raw water pump, booster transformer and panel starter.

"Once works are completed, the treatment plant will perform smoothly and help increase water quality to the people in the vicinity," he said.

He added that Felda is carrying out water supply system upgrading works in Pahang at an estimated cost of RM452 million which will help overcome water disruption problems in Felda settlements.

Visit Pahang Year 2017: Jan, Feb record arrival of more than 2 mil tourists - April 17, 2017

KUANTAN: Visit Pahang Year 2017 has shifted into high gear, evident with an increase in visitors at six major destinations throughout the state. Some 2.23 million travellers have dropped by the state in the first two months alone, this year.

State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said Genting Highlands remained as the most popular destination with 1.79 million visitors going to the highlands resort compared to 1.71 million visitors in the corresponding period last year.

Replying to a written question from Fong Koong Fuee (BN-Cheka), Sharkar said Fraser Hill in Raub recorded a significant percentage increase of 1.74 with some 26,000 making their way to the colonial hill station compared to 19,000 last year.

“Some 347,000 visited Kuantan, 37,443 went to Cherating, Pulau Tioman attracted 14,926 tourists, while 13,193 visitors went to Taman Negara,” he said, adding that last year, the first two months only saw 1.82 million people visiting the six destinations.

Replying to another question from Andansura Rabu (Pas-Beserah) on efforts to boost tourist arrival in Cherating, Sharkar said the state government has teamed up with various agencies to improve the facilities and infrastructures at the famous beach.

“Traditional chalet operators should make an effort to reap the benefits from the tourist arrival during Visit Pahang Year 2017 and look into ways to turn the beach into a popular destination. The beach can be become famous like Bali in Indonesia,” he said.

Najib hails Visit Pahang Year 2017 as major boost for economy - January 20, 2017

KUANTAN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak praised the official launch of Visit Pahang Year 2017 here tonight, describing it as a major boost for the economy. In a brief video teleconference witnessed by a 5,000-strong crowd at the open parking lot of the Urban Transformation Centre(UTC) here, Najib said the Federal government places emphasis on the tourism sector to inject money into the economy. Najib expressed confidence in the state's aim of drawing 15 million visitors this year, given its succcess in previous years where Pahang had succeeded in attracting 10.5 million visitors in 2015 and 12 million last year.

"With the various diverse tourism products and extensive promotions done (since last year), there is a high chance that the tourism target can be achieved," he said. The audience laughed and clapped with approval when Najib replied to a question by acting Sultan of Pahang, Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, on when he would be visiting the state. Najib, who is Pekan member of parliament, said he is naturally a frequent visitor to Pahang. "All the best to Pahang," Najib ended his teleconference, amidst loud cheers and applause from the audience, who sat under protective wide canopies to shelter from the rain. Earlier, acting Sultan of Pahang, Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, officiated the launch of Visit Pahang Year 2017 here. Despite initial heavy rain at the open parking lot of the UTC here, around 5,000 people who thronged under protective wide canopies cheered as Tengku Abdullah made the declaration.

During his speech, Tengku Mahkota said that it is timely for the state government and private sector to push ahead with initiatives to attract visitors in light of the proposed building of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). The ECRL is an ambitious rail project that aims to connect Kuala Lumpur with various parts of Pahang, Terengganu, and Kelantan. "We aim to attract 15 million visitors to Pahang this year. We hope tourists would visit every district here, and help boost the local economy," he said. He said with the latest survey showing Pahang being ranked as the third most attractive place to visit among the Malaysian states, it is high time all parties work together to make the campaign a success."This we should do under any conditions whether rain, thunder, or shine," he said to cheers from the audience.There were also brief video teleconferences by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, who expressed confidence in the campaign to attract visitors to Pahang. Also present were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and state tourism and culture committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin.

ECRL project necessary for Pahang's development, says Tengku Abdullah - April 12, 2017

KUANTAN: Acting Regent of Pahang Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah described the high-impact East Coast Rail Line project (ECRL) as an initiative which is necessary for the development of the state.

He congratulated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for securing the investment from China, saying it would boost the economy and create job opportunities for the people in Pahang.

"The spin-off effects will certainly benefit the state (Pahang) and I hope contractors from the state will also seize the chance to enjoy some benefits (by participating in the construction of ECRL)," he said in his speech when opening the 13th State Legislative Assembly sitting in Wisma Sri Pahang today.

Tengku Abdullah said he also agreed with the recommendation by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob when tabling the 2017 state budget (last year) that the state should explore new resources as it can no longer rely only on land, forest and water for revenues.

He said, apart from implementing development projects that can promise positive economic impact, importance should be also given to preserving the environment.

"I would like to remind the government to give priority to environmental conservation efforts in all development plans. High risk areas such as hilly areas, rivers and water resources should be taken into consideration when implementing development projects.

"A good and clean environment can help promote tourism in the state and continued tourism activities can help establish a progressive economy," he said.

SAY: #SaveMalaysianTourism - February 2, 2017

SAY: #SaveMalaysianTourism - February 2, 2017


“WHAT’S with the hashtags?” I questioned my friend about his Facebook status on Jan 17. He had posted a picture of a tourism event T-shirt and captioned it with a few hashtags, followed by the request: “Go to any Tourism Malaysia Negeri page and show your support!”

The hashtags sound more like a call for help: #sayangtourismmalaysia (love Tourism Malaysia), #tourismmalaysianegeridekatdihati (state Tourism Malaysia close to our heart), #savetourismmalaysia, #welovetourismmalaysia and #prayfortourismmalaysia.

A week after the said Facebook posting, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz announced the closure of all Tourism Malaysia state offices. In its place will be five information offices in Terengganu, Johor, Penang and at the international airports of Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.

“Ahh, now we have to rely on the state tourism department for media familiarisation trips. Tough, very tough,” remarked a friend, who is a freelance travel writer.

When the country began to aggressively promote domestic tourism in the early 2000 through the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign, the local media strongly relied on “fam trips”, as we prefer to call it, organised by Tourism Malaysia.

Initially these fam trips were organised by its domestic division at headquarters but the state branches gradually took over. These state offices have done a good job as far as the travel writers are concerned. Not only were trips more organised, they offered better materials for the media. After all, who knows a place better than the locals, yes?

Personally, I have never met anyone who has as much passion for the products they’re selling than the staff at state-based offices. They may not speak in the standard Malay or English as they are more eloquent in their local dialects but this does not deter them from “selling” their respective states. And, most importantly, they’re genuinely warm and hospitable, a true reflection of the locality they represent.

Now that the task of promoting domestic tourism is left to the state governments, what will happen to the domestic tourism industry?

“A disaster,” said a travel agent friend, who has been in the industry for over 20 years. “Yes, state governments organised their own tourism promotional events but these were done in collaboration with the Tourism Malaysia state offices, which were the anchors that brought in revenue to the state,” she continued.

She said most travel companies designed and sold their holiday packages with the assistance of Tourism Malaysia. “Not all state tourism departments are tourism savvy. Only Selangor, Terengganu, Pahang and Penang have the experts who are as good as, if not better than, Tourism Malaysia,” she added.

A friend in Tourism Malaysia echoed the same sentiment. “Yes, Sabah Tourism Board is well suited to promote its products. But that’s about it.”

Based on my experience, these states and Sarawak are better informed and well organised to be independent. But what will happen to the others that rely heavily on Tourism Malaysia?

“With the current situation — social media and all — there is no doubt that the state tourism departments will be able to work independently, but they will be lacking in servicing the clients i.e the industry players,” he continued.

This, he said, differentiates the work of the Tourism Malaysia state offices and state tourism departments.

“We do not solely promote the state we’re representing but also cross-promote neighbouring states. I don’t think the state tourism departments would want to or even have the budget to promote other states,” he added.

Will the five Tourism Malaysia’s information offices take over the state offices’ roles?

No, he said, because these offices are regional offices. “It will be too vast and too wide for them to reach down to the players and the players won’t easily get the attention they are used to receiving,” he added.

With the changes, what then will happen to the Malaysian domestic tourism industry? Only time will tell.

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