RM6mil windfall for tourism players on ‘one-day free access’, says Melaka CM

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh (middle), demonstrating his culinary skills.

MELAKA: Tourism industry players here recorded an unexpected windfall of RM6mil in a single day following the Melaka state government's decision to grant free access to iconic tourist landmarks in the city to commemorate the Declaration of Independence of the Federation of Malaya, says Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh.

The Melaka Chief Minister said 160,000 tourists were recorded on Feb 20, which was also declared a public holiday for the state, with the hotel industry being the biggest beneficiary of the state government's move to celebrate the historic day.

He said the state government also absorbed the cost of RM2.6mil to allow complimentary entrances to 11 tourist attractions, services as well as green fees for five golf clubs that were waived that day.

"It was a successful move, especially for the hotel industry in the state, and I would like to apologise to those who had not gotten the opportunity to enter these popular destinations (due to overcrowding)," he said after attending an event at Dataran Pengkalan Rama here on Sunday (Feb 25).

Ab Rauf said Melaka Zoo received 30,510 visitors, followed by 8,346 people taking boat cruises along Sungai Melaka and 7,752 visitors to Melaka Wonderland Theme Park in Ayer Keroh.

Surprisingly, he said the Prison Department's museum at Bandar Hilir also registered an unexpected 11,371 visitors on a single day.

Ab Rauf said he has yet to decide whether the complimentary entrances on Feb 20 would be continued next year.

"We need to study the overall impact (on free entrances) from various aspects, especially when it involves landmarks at various locations here," he added.

Meanwhile, Ab Rauf said the floating market at Pengkalan Rama riverbank will be launched in April with 30 boats and 100 kiosks.

The floating market will come under the purview of Melaka River and Beach Development Corporation, and roofed boats will be placed along a 30m stretch on Sungai Melaka in phase two.

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