Unlock Perak’s tourism potential

THIS year should be an exciting time for visitors to Malaysia’s silver state, as Visit Perak Year 2024 has now kicked off.

Several new tourist attractions are expected to be up and running in conjunction with the state tourism campaign.

These include the first Hard Rock Cafe in Ipoh, a dinosaur park at the Gunung Lang Recreational Park, Silverlakes Village Outlet in Batu Gajah and several other attractions which will complement existing destinations.

As a whole, Perak is not short of tourist attractions, but to get visitors to stay a few days in one particular district can be a challenge.

That being said, Ipoh has the most prospect of getting tourists to stay over for a few nights with its cave temples, Lost World of Tambun theme park, popular street food, some heritage locations and other attractions.

The night scene in Ipoh has also become livelier with more places to hang out.

Visitors can also make a day trip to Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, enjoy extreme sports activities and Gua Tempurung in Gopeng or visit the Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge No.5 and Taiping. These are located less than an hour’s drive from the city centre of the state capital.

Tourists admiring the vastness of Kek Look Tong, one of the cave temples in Ipoh. — FilepicTourists admiring the vastness of Kek Look Tong, one of the cave temples in Ipoh. — Filepic

Farther away from Ipoh, travellers can visit the Royal Belum Rainforest in Gerik, Teluk Intan or Pangkor.

To make it worthwhile for tourists to stay a few nights, more attractions should be developed, especially to cater to families with children.

Some children might not enjoy being at cave temples or even care about an old tin dredge, and would definitely prefer something fun to do.

To an extent, having attractions that are special, different or distinctive are important, as I feel there are so many possibilities that can be explored.

One possibility is to develop an entertainment centre or park dedicated to virtual reality and high-tech attractions like the Red Tokyo Tower in Japan.

The technology is already there and I feel it could really be a hit with the people, especially youngsters, with esport being enjoyed by a lot of people nowadays.

There could perhaps even be an ice and snow-themed park, similar to that in Genting Highlands but on a larger scale.

The government should also think about tapping into other potential developments to allow the state to attract more visitors.

Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah is a popular spot for visitors in Perak. — FilepicKellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah is a popular spot for visitors in Perak. — Filepic

Case in point, Ipoh was included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) Creative Cities Network (UCCN) as a “Music City” last year.

As a Music City, surely there has to be shows or concerts, but Ipoh currently lacks such venues to host large-scale performances.

The Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur is the preferred location for big concerts, so perhaps a venue dedicated to such performances could be considered for Ipoh.

There is ample land at Meru Raya and it is quite a strategic location, being near the North-South Expressway.

Just imagine having a huge concert by a popular singer or band in Ipoh and the business opportunities that it could bring to the locals.

There are people from all over the country who are willing to travel to neighbouring countries to watch their favourite music acts.

So instead of having them spend money abroad, why not in Ipoh?

At the end of the day, it’s all about improving the economy and the lives of the people.

There are truly endless possibilities when it comes to the tourism industry.

So why not dream big?

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