- 2008/08/04 Malacca expects more tourists from Holland

The historic city of Malacca is expecting an influx of foreign tourists, particularly those from the Netherlands, following its inscription as a World Heritage Site.

Over the past two years, Dutch tourists to the state have increased two fold with 4,868 in 2006 and 9,304 in 2007.

Image: Docent Shaukani Abbas explaining the history of the Malacca tunnel.
Docent Shaukani Abbas explaining the history of the Malacca tunnel.

Among those cashing in on this lucrative industry is senior travel guide Shaukani Abbas, 51, who created a niche for himself by targeting Dutch tourists six years ago.

"I have been a guide for almost 20 years and realised that Malacca was a favourite destination for Dutch tourists owing to the state's historical links to the Netherlands," he said while guiding a group of 24 Dutch tourists on a 21-day visit to Malaysia.

He came up with the idea of a Dutch heritage and museum trail several years ago when tourists required daily tours and activities during their month-long stays here.

He said that local tour guides had progressed over the years but there was much room for improvement.

"It may be better if the guides provide interpretations of the historical sites and not just the superficial history.

"With intensive courses, the guides can explain about the sites with descriptive information," he said.

Alex Oldenburg, 54, from Brielle, said it was his first visit here and was amazed by at the well-preserved Christ Church and Stadhuys in the heart of the city.

"I am impressed by Malaysia's multiracial society and enjoy seeing the different races and religions existing in harmony," he said, adding that he also enjoyed visiting traditional Malay houses.

With the city making it to the World Heritage Site list, he hoped the authorities would preserve the historical and cultural richness of the state.

Meanwhile, Ria Freelink, 52, from Rotterdam, said she found Malacca interesting as it was governed by the Dutch for 183 years from 1641.

"I have seen the Stadhuys in books and documentaries and I am happy to see it in person today. It is definitely an eye-opener and memorable for me," she said.

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•  2007/12/18 2km Dutch heritage trail opens in Malacca

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