Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Batam Expects To Draw 500,000 Malaysian Tourists Next Year

Batam island expects to attract at least 500,000 tourists from Malaysia during Visit Batam Year 2010.

Its director of the tourism and culture department, Guntur Sakti, said the target was achievable because in recent years Malaysian tourists were the third highest to visit Batam, about 45 minutes by ferry from Johor Baharu.

"This year, up to October, Batam recorded more than 900,000 tourists out of a target of one million domestic and foreign tourists, of which 30 per cent were from Malaysia," he told Bernama.

The Nusantara Parade, which portrays the culture of all the 33 provinces of Indonesia, is expected to be a major tourist draw next year.

Also on the 2010 calendar is the "Kenduri Seni Melayu" (Feast of Malay Culture) which will feature various aspects of Malay culture, such as dances and songs from several provinces, including Riau, Lampung, Jambi, Aceh, western Sumatra and also neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

Guntur said Batam was ready to accommodate the anticipated tourists with more than 6,000 hotel rooms as well as homestays.

A group of local and foreign journalists, who were brought from Jakarta recently, were able to see the site of the Vietnamese refugee camp in Pulau Galang which housed up to 15,000 refugees between 1979 and 1996, and is now a tourist attraction.

Batam, which is better known as an integrated industrial site in Indonesia, is now popularly known as Barelang -- an acronym of the names of the three islands of Batam, Rempang and Galang out of the seven islands connected by six bridges.

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