TONTON ASTRO AWANI

PENGUNJUNG SETIA

04 Mac 2010

BOOSTING MUAR TOURS

By HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH
metrose@thestar.com.my

MUAR: Tour operators and tour agents have been urged to explore and promote the heritage and history of places of interest to boost local tourism.

Refreshing: Visitors enjoying the waterfall in Gunung Ledang near Tangkak.

Johor Tourist Guide Association chairman Jimmy Leong said more should be written about the history, like important battles, to create awareness on the significance of certain sites.

Speaking to about 50 tourism frontliners such as tour guides, agents, homestay operators and Muar municipal councillors, he said it was important for tourists to know about the backgrounds of places of interest.

“Muar has many old buildings and shophouses with traditional and unique facades that say much about the town.

Breakfast: Unique to Muar is that restaurants in the district serve satay in the morning.

“We should learn about these buildings and highlight them to attract tourists,” he said at a seminar organised by Johor Malaysia Tourism and the Muar Municipal Council.

Leong said the industry should look for guides who were well-versed with the heritage, people and interesting periods in the history of these places.

The names of the places should also be studied to enable tourists to know their origins and meanings, he said.

He said, for example, there were two versions about the origins of the name Muar.

Historical place: The Bukit Kepong police station built after the previous wooden station was attacked and burnt to the ground by communist rebels in 1950.

According to one version, Muar is based on the Malay word muara which means estuary, while the other tale says it is derived from mune aaru which in Tamil means three rivers in reference to Sungai Muar, Sungai Pahang and Sungai Serting in Negri Sembilan.

Meanwhile, Johor Malaysia Tourism Board director Noridah Kamarudin said that Muar had many products that made it a unique tourist destination.

Green getaway: A group of students from Universiti Teknologi Mara in Jengka, Pahang, visiting the Nasuha Spice and Herb Museum near Pagoh.

She said, besides places with historical backgrounds such as Bukit Kepong, Muar was the only place in Malaysia where the people ate satay in the morning.

All restaurants and stalls here served satay in the morning, she said, adding that the town was also famous for mee bandung and asam pedas.

These were attractive tourism products of the district, she said, and urged those in the industry to capitalise on and promote them.

Muar Municipal Council senior officer Bohari Samingon said there were many attractive spots along Sungai Muar.

The estuary had two mosques of similar design facing each other on the riverbanks, he said.

The one in Tanjung Agas was built a few years ago while the one in Muar town was built in the late 1890s, he added.

Other old buildings to look out for were Muar High School and the courthouse, he said.

SOURCE: THE STAR, 04 MARCH 2010

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