SINGAPORE: Singaporeans have been the most loyal tourists to Pahang with close to one million visiting the state every year.
Pahang Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said the reasons for the influx of the tourists from Singapore were not only related to the attractions that Pahang has, but also the continuous efforts by tourism agencies in the state in promoting and upgrading the facilities.
Mohd Sharkar said the state’s current main attractions like Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Bukit Fraser, Tioman Island, Taman Negara and Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre had been the main crowd pullers. However, without the Government, through its tourism agencies’ concern, Singapore tourists too would have choices of other destinations in other states.
“We are introducing a new attraction in black water jewels (peat swamp forest) which could be found in Bebar, an area which lies in Pekan district.
“It is the biggest tropical peat swamp forest in Asia, covering the areas of both Rompin and Pekan districts and it rich in its diversity,” Mohd Sharkar said.
According to the study, Mohd Sharkar said there were various species of reptiles, including the species of crocodile of “Malayan False Gharial” species which is not harm to human beings.
“I was told that the leopard and hornbills are spotted in this area and it is learnt that there are some 200 species of birds in this area.
He said according to the Malaysian Nature Society, the area is also a bird sighting area or an important bird area (IBA).
“This area will soon be one of the main attractions for tourists in the state and we will develop it as one of the main products in the state.
Mohd Sharkar said this at a recent visit to Singapore where he met both Pahang and Singapore travel agents at a leading hotel there.
He said Pahang Government was thankful to Singaporeans for their loyalties as foreign tourists in the state.
“In all yearly events held in Pahang like the Royal Billfish challenge, Tioman Eco challenge and others, most of the participants comprise of Singaporeans.
“They spent, they enjoyed the competitions and they won the prizes.
“Somehow we are thankful to them and in return we also encouraged our locals to visit Singapore from time to time.
“The meeting with the players in tourism industry from both states would boost further the promoting efforts of both states tourism products,” he said.
Also present during the visit was Pahang Tourism Agency (Bukit Fraser Development Corporation) general manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar and Tioman Development Autho-rity general manager Datuk Hashim Mat Tahir.
Some 22 travel agents or tourism industry players in the state took part in the meeting by providing information on the attractions that they have for Singapore tourists markets.
Mohd Sharkar said the state government needed to be more creative in coming up with attractive tourism products in view of the increasing number of tourists from Singapore to Pahang.
“However, new attractions and lodgings are in the pipeline so the state is able to cater to the growing number of tourist arrivals,” he said.
Mohd Sharkar said he was optimistic that with better deals, promotions and additional new products, Pahang will continue to be Singaporeans’ top destination.
“All parties including tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and tourism agencies must continue to aggressively promote Pahang to Singaporeans,” he said.