KUALA TERENGGANU (The New Straits Times): Terengganu will be spending RM60 million to develop heritage attractions to boost tourism.
The state has been designated the East Coast Economic Region’s (ECER) tourism hub with plans afoot to highlight its role as one of the region’s earliest Islamic civilisations.
State Trade, Industry and Environment Committee chairman Toh Chin Yaw said one of the sites identified to boost living heritage tourism and cultural preservation was Kampung Cina, commonly known as Chinatown.
Kampung Cina, situated next to the waterfront here, attracts tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of architecture with Oriental, Arabic and Western influences.
In 1997, it was considered by the World’s Monument Fund as one of the world’s 100 most endangered sites.
With the support of the state government, non-governmental organisations, the Kuala Terengganu City Council and local Chinese guilds, Toh said, some of the 300 pre-war shophouses in Kampung Cina, dating back a century, had undergone restoration.
Toh, who is also state MCA chairman, said there were plans to build a bridge and road to connect Kampung Cina to Pulau Warisan, a man-made island consisting of traditional buildings and recreational beaches.
The project, including double-frontage roads and a sewage system, is expected to be completed in August.
In luring tourists to the heritage site, local cuisine and delicacies have been revived through food outlets, one of which is Madam Bee’s Kitchen, situated near the famous Ma Tzu temple.
The shophouse, which belonged to award-winning chef Tan Choon Bee’s family, has been developed into one of well-known restaurants serving authentic nyonya cuisine.
Terengganu recorded 3.5 million tourist arrivals last year, a 24 per cent increase compared with 2007.