To make Terengganu a
tourism hub and generate income, the state should promote tourism
vibrantly without delay. Depending on oil revenue alone may not be
When oil revenue is
depleted within perhaps 10 to 15 years from now, the state may find
it hard to sustain its economy. Terengganu would by then have a
population of more than 1.5 million people.
More than 90% of the
state's present budget allocation comes from the Federal Government
partly through oil revenue - of which a certain portion is allocated
for the state as oil is produced off the Terengganu coast.
The state on the other
hand cannot depend solely on the prospects of drawing foreign or
local investors to boost its economy. This has become too
competitive with the liberalisation of economies in the region.
Even within the country,
the state may lose to the west coast states when it comes to choice
of location for these investors.
The yearly sectorial
contribution of tourism to the state economy is still not
significant enough to sustain it without help from other sources.
The number of domestic and foreign tourists is lower than two
million a year.
Even the annual average
hotel occupancy rate is lower than 55%, peaking only during public
holidays and long-term school holidays. The duration of stay of
foreign and domestic tourists is fewer than five days on average.
It has been observed
that most government-run tourism sectors are not up to the mark.
Some are more of a “charity” nature, and this would not contribute
much to the state's coffers.
The state can play a
more positive role in encouraging the private sector to develop its
The state, in reality,
has plenty to offer. The islands, beautiful beaches (it has a 244km
coastline), rivers, handicrafts, historical sights, waterfalls,
lakes and natural forests are some of the interesting attractions.
The state government
should rope in more private entrepreneurs to help develop these
sectors in an environment-friendly way.
Tourists would like to
see more natural tourist spots which are eco-friendly. Let the
private sector do the promotion of these tourist destinations with
the support of the state.
The government's role
should be to provide the best infrastructure for the tourism
industry to flourish.
It has to be
business-friendly, and there should not be any “red tape” when
entrepreneurs want to promote the industry. The local business
community should ensure prices for food and other goods and hotel
rates are not exorbitant.
Better sanitation is
another area that the local business community should give priority
to. The government on its part could play a role to rein in some of
these disincentives that would turn away tourists.