PETALING JAYA: In a strange reversal, people in Melaka will flash a smile rather than frown when they see traffic building up in their historical city.
Melaka Tourism Association (MTA) acting president Sazali Sabri said the recent traffic congestion was a sign that Melaka’s tourism industry was bouncing back, with hoteliers reporting high occupancy rates over the weekend.
“It was a ‘golden’ weekend for hoteliers. We hope this trend continues and Melaka tourism will be back to normal, ” he said, adding that the crowd were mostly Malaysians.
Melaka Tourism Business Club vice-chairman Dennis Samford shared similar sentiments, saying the weekend gridlock showed that Melaka was still a top destination.
“This was the first time Melaka witnessed local registered vehicles caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The industry will also get a boost once the Singapore-Malaysia borders are reopened.
“Previously, locals would sigh at the sight of such traffic jams.
“Now they rejoice when they see it, ” he quipped.
In Penang, tourist spots and malls were also buzzing once again with crowds. Along Lebuh Keng Kwee, locals thronged the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul stall as they returned to savour bowls of cendol.
Stall supervisor Jim Tan, 37, said the number of visitors at his stall increased by at least 60% in the first weekend of July compared to June.
“This is definitely an improvement for local businesses as we all suffered drops in profit during the movement control order (MCO) period.
“Last weekend, we served over 600 customers each day, most of them locals from other states, ” said Tan.
Penang Road was also packed with people, who double-parked their cars along the road, causing a major traffic jam.
Office clerk Annie Low, 32, who was returning home from work, was among those caught in the jam there.
“An ordinary two-minute drive along Penang Road turned into a 20-minute crawl. Most of the cars had number plates from other states, ” said Low.
In Sabah, officials said new tourism products in Ranau would play an important in attracting more tourists.
Established attractions there include the Poring Hot Spring, the Kundasang War Memorial, tea plantations, orchid nurseries, strawberry farms, organic vegetable farms, highland resorts and homestays.