PENANG: Improving Penang's image and identity is the first step to lure tourists back to the island. To do that, the municipal council is drafting a landscaping masterplan.
The councils landscape and beautification committee member, Khoo Kay Hean, said the plan would uphold the island's identity as the Pearl of the Orient and promote its natural attractions, the Penang ferries, Penang Bridge and Komtar. The state colours would also be emphasised.
The plan will be implemented over five years, he said, adding that more pinang trees would be planted on the island as they were what gave the island its name.
Council president Datuk Ahmad Phesal was quoted as saying that the masterplan would be presented to the state planning committee for approval.
Khoo said the plan would be implemented in five areas Batu Ferringhi, Jalan Mesjid Negri from the state mosque to the Jalan Udini roundabout, Jalan Tun Dr Awang from the Bayan Lepas International Airport to Penang International Sports Arena, the mangrove areas in Sungai Burung-Sungai Nipah, Balik Pulau, and Pandang Indah, also in Balik Pulau.
Khoo said these areas were chosen as they are tourist attractions, protocol roads, entry points to the state and new recreation areas.''
Funding for the plan would come from the National Landscape Department, said Khoo.
Khoo said the council plans to showcase popular local plants such as nutmeg, bungah tanjung and asam glugor among others.
On another matter, Khoo said the council was also planning to have a heritage tree trail to feature old trees such as the angsana as an added attraction.
The trail, stretching some 5km, would pass through Jalan Residensi, Jalan Macalister, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Gottlieb and Jalan Utama.
Recently, tour guides were complaining that tourists were bypassing Penang for more interesting destinations in the country and overseas.
And even tour guides are leaving for greener pastures to more vibrant tourism markets such as Kuala Lumpur and Malacca.
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