NUSAJAYA: Economic uncertainty forced the state government to temporarily stop developing Mersing and its islands as the “Caribbean of the East.”
However, the on-going promotional efforts to attract more tourists to the area that has a rich marine habitat have not stopped, said Johor exco man Datuk Tee Siew Kiong.
“We have organised various familiarisation trips for the local and foreign media and travel agencies to promote Mersing and the 13 gazetted islands under the Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar brand name.
“Our beautiful islands even caught the eye of China’s Guangdong TV Production that recorded its reality show Million Dollar Baby from May 11-30 in a few locations in Johor, including the Mersing islands,” he said.
Tee added the district’s food was also among the featured attractions.
“Food items like nasi dagang, fish crackers, otak-otak, dried fish and cuttlefish are also popular among tourists,” he said at the state assembly sitting yesterday.
The state also promoted other attractions such as Tanjung Leman beach, Teluk Buih beach, Air Papan beach and homestay as well as the Gunung Arong recreational forest.
Tee said that in reply to questions posed by A. Aziz Ismail (BN-Senggarang) and K. Raven Kumar (BN-Tenggaroh) who asked about the status of the Caribbean of the East project and the plans to develop Mersing.
Tee added that Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin in the Budget 2016 announced that RM12.7mil had been approved for the Rolling Plan 1 to develop the Endau-Mersing fish processing plan.
He said the allocation was also for upgrading the homestay and eco-tourism facilities in the district.