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MELAKA has carved its name as a renowned tourism lo­ca­tion in the world, draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the golden age of the Malacca Sul­tanate. The state was listed as a United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Un­esco) World Her­itage Site in 2008.

Since then, the state has con­tin­ued to record an impressive in­flux of tourists.

Its Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Idris Haron said last year, the state recorded 16.79 mil­lion tourist ar­rivals, the high­est num­ber to date.

He said de­spite be­ing a small state span­ning 1,664 sqkm, Melaka has been a des­ti­na­tion of choice for trav­ellers from China, Sin­ga­pore, In­done­sia, Tai­wan and Hong Kong.

“The cul­ture, civil­i­sa­tion and her­itage in Melaka have stood the test of time, thus be­com­ing a foun­da­tion to de­velop an ad­vanced and pro­gres­sive state,” he said.

Idris has helmed the state since 2013 and chairs the fi­nance, land, econ­omy, in­vest­ment and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, re­li­gious af­fairs, her­itage, youth de­vel­op­ment and tourism port­fo­lios.

As a chief min­is­ter, he has trans­formed the tourism land­scape, turn­ing Melaka into a state rich in di­ver­sity and cul­ture.

Due to his lead­er­ship and vi­sion, Idris was awarded the Prime Min­is­ter’s Spe­cial Award (In­di­vid­ual Cat­e­gory) dur­ing the 20th Malaysia Tourism Awards held at Putrajaya In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre (PICC) on Feb 28.

Idris said the award was an ap­pre­ci­a­tion to all state ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil­lors, head of de­part­ments, govern­ment agen­cies and Melaka res­i­dents who had played an in­te­gral role in the suc­cess of tourism in the state.

“I was hum­bled and hon­oured when Tourism and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz pro­posed my name as the re­cip­i­ent for in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory. I was in­formed there were 51 judges for this award.

I re­gard this as the high­est recog­ni­tion for me in the state’s tourism port­fo­lio,” he said when met at PICC.

Pre­vi­ously, Idris man­aged to po­si­tion the state into an in­ter­na­tional tourism des­ti­na­tion.

Based on th­ese var­i­ous recog­ni­tions, Melaka has set a high bench­mark to en­sure that the sec­tor stays rel­e­vant , com­pet­i­tive and caters to the grow­ing de­mand of in­ter­na­tional tourists.

Idris said the state govern­ment has lined-up a strate­gic di­rec­tion to max­imise the po­ten­tial of the tourism in­dus­try un­der the sec­ond phase of Melaka Maju.

“The main tar­get is to have 20 mil­lion tourist ar­rivals by 2020 and this is among the early ini­tia­tives lead­ing up to the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 pro­mo­tion,” he said.

“This year alone Melaka has planned 120 tourism ac­tiv­i­ties with 10 main events in­clud­ing Melaka Fi­esta 2018, Melaka River In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val, Melaka His­tor­i­cal City Cel­e­bra­tion, and Kar­ni­val Makan-Makan Melaka 2018,” he said.

Tourists will also have a world-class va­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence with an in­ter­na­tional-class theatre, known as Teater En­core Melaka at Im­pres­sion City which will be a new at­trac­tion at Melaka Gate­way as well as planned de­vel­op­ment at Hang Tuah Melaka Com­mer­cial Cen­tre.

More­over, once the Kuala LumpurSin­ga­pore high-speed rail project is com­pleted in 2026, Melaka is set to en­joy a pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact to be­come more af­flu­ent with a steady in­crease of tourists into the state. Four of 10 mu­se­ums in the state were listed as the best 10 mu­se­ums in Malaysia by Tri­pad­vi­sor

• Melaka listed as one of 10 Best Des­ti­na­tions in Malaysia by Tri­pad­vi­sor

• Se­lat Melaka Mosque named among 10 Best Land­marks in Malaysia

• The Ma­jes­tic Melaka and Casa Del Rio among the

Top 25 best and lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels in Malaysia

• Court­yard @ Heeren Bou­tique Ho­tel Melaka among the Top 25 ro­man­tic ho­tels in Malaysia.

• Waze App recog­nised Melaka with ‘The Best City to Drive In’ Award.

• The Cul­ture Trip recog­nised Se­lat Melaka Mosque for 2016 Lo­cals’ Choice Award

• The World’s Trendi­est

Hol­i­day Des­ti­na­tion in 2017 by Bri­tish Post.

• Sec­ond place for Malaysia at­trac­tive tourism des­ti­na­tion by Tourism and Cul­ture Min­is­ter

• Ninth place for Malaysia Best Des­ti­na­tion by Tri­pad­vi­

• Recog­nised as one of the 50 Best Des­ti­na­tions for

Street Food by The World Street Food Congress 2017 through Don­ald & Lily

Ny­onya Mee Siam and

Jalan Kuli Satay.

• Asia 2017 10 must-visit des­ti­na­tions by Lonely Planet

• Asia 2017 10 must-visit des­ti­na­tions in by Tri­pad­vi­sor

• Melaka Por­tuguese Set­tle­ment men­tioned in Se­cret Mar­vels of the

World book by Lonely Planet.

• Melaka Chief Min­is­ter

Datuk Seri Idris Haron re­ceives ‘The Tourism Guru’ award by a travel mag­a­zine, Where2 Travel & Life­style. • Melaka Chief Min­is­ter

Datuk Seri Idris Haron re­ceives Prime Min­is­ter’s Spe­cial Award (In­di­vid­ual Cat­e­gory) in con­junc­tion with 20th Malaysia Tourism Award.

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