Malacca optimistic it can overcome tourism slump

  • Nation
  • Monday, 12 May 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malacca government remains optimistic that it can overcome the slump in tourism following the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. 

Although there was a 30% drop in the hotel occupancy rate, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the rate had gone up by 15% for hotels popular among local tourists. 

The SARS situation was expected to normalise within two months as the World Health Organisation had declared that the spread of the virus was coming under control, he said. 

“China and Singapore are two major SARS-affected countries where most of our tourists come from. Before the outbreak, we had expected to attract 3.5 million tourists. Now, we have to revise that figure but we are confident we will hit the three million target. 

“By July, things are expected to go back to normal,” he said after launching the MCA’s Election Work C amp for the party’s Malacca branch and division leaders here on Saturday. 

Mohd Ali also said that Barisan Nasional was confident of wresting the single parliamentary seat and four state seats from the DAP in Malacca. 

The coalition had received feedback that the public was ready for a change in leadership in DAP-controlled areas, especially in Kota Melaka. 

“The DAP has been holding the Kota Melaka seat for the past 33 years but it has not done much. So, the people are asking for a change,” he said. 

The opposition party holds the Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency and the state seats in Tengkera, Durian Daun, Bachang and Bandar Hilir. 

These constituencies, he said, were given extra attention under Umno’s foster father programme in which the party’s supreme council members had to oversee divisions and zones.  

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