December 4, 2013
Need to increase promotion of tourist attractions and upkeep
BY CHERYL HEW
PHOTOS BY RONNIE CHIN
Synonymous with Tambun: A shop selling Tambun pomeloes. The good food here in Ipoh has been suggested as a tourist
attraction with lots of potential to draw in more foreign tourists.
Synonymous with Tambun: A shop selling Tambun pomeloes. The good food here in Ipoh
has been suggested as a tourist attraction with lots of potential to draw in more foreign tourists.
THE number of tourist arrivals in Perak might come short compared to other states,
but players in the tourism industry feel there is much potential to be tapped in the silver state.
Former tin miner Tan Sri Hew See Tong, who set up the Kinta Tin Mining (Gravel
Pump) Museum in Kampar, lamented that Perak did not have major public transportation hubs like Penang and Kuala
“As such, it is quite inconvenient for foreign tourists to come here and this has
definitely affected tourist arrivals in the state,” he said.
However, Hew discovered that much improvement in the tourism industry could be
done in Perak as long as all stakeholders played their part in making the state a more attractive holiday
The Impiana Hotel in Ipoh. Hoteliers here are optimistic about the state's
potential growth in the tourism industry and are working closely with other industry players to promote the state's
Impiana Hotel: Hoteliers in Ipoh are optimistic about the state’s potential growth in
the tourism industry and are working closely with other industry players to promote the state’s various
“There are various unique and wonderful attractions in Perak such as Gua Tempurung,
Ipoh’s limestone caves and the former tin mining towns.
“However, my friends who come here tell me that they did not know the state had
such attractions. This shows that such places of interest are not getting much promotion elsewhere.
“This is something that the state government and local governments should look
into, along with improving facilities and cleanliness at such spots,” he added.
Kepayang assemblyman Nga Kor Ming had brought up at the state assembly last week
that out of 120 million tourist arrivals in Malaysia from 2009 to 2012, only 2% had set foot in Perak.
Refuting this claim, State Tourism Committee chairman Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi
said the 2% only reflected the number of foreign tourists staying at hotels and did not give an accurate
representation of the actual number of tourists who visited Perak.
Families enjoying themselves at the Lost World of Tambun theme park, one of the
many tourist attractions in the state.
Good, clean fun: Families enjoying themselves at the Lost World of Tambun theme park, one of the many tourist
attractions in the state.
For Taiping Zoo director Dr Kevin Lazarus, the statistics on
foreign tourists were not far off from those gleaned off visitor records to the zoo.
“The Taiping Zoo gets about 700,000 visitors a year, but the number of foreign
visitors is less than 1% of the total.
“From my personal opinion, I think the low number is due to Taiping being lesser
known than Ipoh in the international market. So tourists either have not heard of us or find our location out of
the way,” said Dr Lazarus.
Despite that, he has not been deterred and is instead working extra hard with the
authorities to better highlight the former tin mining town.
“I have been discussing with the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority to hold more programmes in Taiping so that the town would be more well-known among locals
The calm and serene green lungs of Taiping Lake Gardens.
Lush greenery: The calm and serene green lungs of Taiping Lake Gardens.
“The zoo also does aggressive marketing and advertising through various media such
as in-flight magazines, tourism pamphlets and tour agencies.
“For the more technology-savvy, we are in the process of upgrading our website to
better serve our purposes.
“Taiping is a beautiful place with plenty of historical and ecological value; it
is just a matter of creating awareness on this to get people to visit,” he added.
MK Land Hotels and Resorts general manager Azahar Ahmad said the company, which
operates the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort and Taiping Golf Resort, had been sending staff members abroad to promote
the state and resort to foreigners.
“Each state such as Perak has its own uniqueness, so you have to recognise that
and promote it to a specific target market.
“Taiping is a quiet place with a lot of historical significance such as having the
first railway station and the Lake Gardens, so there is a lot of potential for the tourism industry here to
“Accessibility should not be a problem too since it is connected to the
North-South Expressway and frequented by buses and trains,” said Azahar.
Ritz Garden Hotel manager Lily Chee concurred that Perak’s tourist arrivals was
small compared to Kuala Lumpur and Penang but pointed out that the state still had a lot of avenues to develop its
“We definitely cannot compare with Kuala Lumpur in terms of shopping, but Perak
just needs to find its own uniqueness and learn to market it.
“We have lovely natural attractions such as Gua Tempurung, the Royal Belum
Rainforest and Pangkor, so I see a lot of potential for the ecotourism industry here,” said Chee.
She stressed that besides promotion, the authorities and other industry players
should focus on the upkeep of tourist attractions and facilities.
“We need to make sure the cleanliness and safety aspects are top-notch to leave a
good impression on tourists who will then spread good word on the attractions to others.
“The public transportation should also be looked into if we are targeting foreign
tourists, as most if not all would not be driving cars.
“Bus schedules need to be adhered to and stronger enforcement carried out on taxi
drivers who overcharge customers,” she added.
Impiana Hotel assistant communications manager Chiam E-Fay said the hotel had been
pushing the heritage aspect of Perak in its promotions and advertising as the feature set itself from other
destinations such as Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
“The number of foreign tourists coming here in the past few years has been
steadily increasing, which is partly due to the various developments and Ipoh’s rising popularity as a food
“When multinational companies invest and set up operations in the state, they
usually bring in foreign experts, who will then spread word about the state to their friends and families,” said
She felt the state government had been working very hard to promote the state,
especially through its Visit Perak Year 2012, and push to get Lenggong recognised as a United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Site.
“However, the government cannot work alone and we hoteliers as well as other
industry players must help them.
“Even locals could play a role by being more hospitable to tourists and keeping
their surroundings clean to further improve the city and state’s image,” she added.
- The Star