Budget 2024: Sultan Mahmud Airport needs sprucing up, promotions

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu government has expressed hope that a portion of the RM350 million allocation to boost national tourism promotion activities in the Budget 2024 will also be used to spruce up the Sultan Mahmud Airport here.

State Tourism, Culture, Environment and Climate Change Committee chairman Datuk Razali Idris said the airport needed improvement and promotions, as Terengganu aims to attract more tourists from the Middle East and India next year.

“On average, only 10 flights are available to Terengganu daily, unlike in other states. We are also hoping for matching grants for charter flights, which can increase the number of flights to this state.

“Terengganu has everything to offer to tourists, and this is in line with the goal of the Visit Malaysia Year 2026, which aims to attract 26.1 million tourists,” he told Bernama today.

Razali also welcomed the provision of funds to the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) and said that the state is ready to offer Syariah-compliant tourism to visitors.

“At the Islamic Civilisation Park (TTI), for example, plans are underway to transform two empty buildings into a gallery displaying artefacts from a nearly 600-year-old shipwreck found in the state waters.

“Additionally, other existing monuments in TTI need financial support from the federal government for renovation work to attract more tourists there,” he said.

Players in the hospitality industry in Terengganu also welcome the noble efforts of the Unity Government to boost tourism in the state, which is popular with its captivating natural beauty.

Permai Hotel general manager Noralizan Abd Rahman believes that if Terengganu receives the appropriate allocation, it will provide relief to the hospitality industry in the state, which is still striving to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most hotels here are still looking for momentum to survive, and I know that budget hotels, for example, are still struggling to make ends meet. With an allocation that focuses on promotion and tourism activities, I am confident that it will bring more tourists here and we can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

“We cannot deny the beauty of Terengganu, so the government should seize the opportunity to help the local people and hotel operators and simultaneously boost the national economy,” she said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, when tabling the Malaysia MADANI Budget 2024 themed Economic Reform, Empowering the People last month, announced an allocation of RM350 million to boost promotion and tourism activities, including the Visit Malaysia Year 2026 campaign and the preservation of areas, buildings and sites that are tourist attractions.-Bernama

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