Ferry service revival
By FARIK ZOLKEPLI
KOTA TINGGI: The Tourism Ministry is in talks with the Transport Ministry over resuming the vehicle ferry service from Changi to Tanjung Belungkor to boost the entry of Singaporeans to Malaysia, especially to Desaru.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said the service was a major factor that enabled Desaru to be developed as a tourist destination but the service was stopped 15 years ago leading to a decline in tourism.
“Entering Malaysia via Tanjung Belungkor is convenient when you take into account the traffic congestion at the Causeway and Second Link,” she said after visiting the Desaru Zoom Carnival 2008 in Tanjung Balau here recently.
Azalina said she had spoken to Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat on aggressively implementing the service again.
On another matter, she said the number of tourist arrivals nationwide recorded an 8.2% increase last month compared to the corresponding period last year.
Delightful: Azalina visiting a stall at the Desaru Zoom Carnival 2008 in Tanjung Balau recently.
“The increase is due to efforts of the ministry in promoting tourist destinations in Malaysia.
“We are optimistic of achieving our target of 22 million visitors this year,” she said.
On the Desaru Zoom Carnival, Azalina said it was a concept in promoting tourist destinations creatively.
“Instead of focusing on the destination, we promote the attractions the destination has to offer.
“For Tanjung Balau, we are promoting its seafood and identity as a fishing village,” she said.
Azalina said the carnival targeted domestic tourists and would be held in Desaru each year as there were not plans to organise it elsewhere.
Some 33 stalls were set up to promote seafood and nasi lemak.
Visitors were at hand to witness the longest ikan bakar in Malaysia, which at 450m entered the Malaysia Book of Records.
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