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BusinessTravel Guide

MELAKA

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Malaysia’s soothing centre of culture


M E L A K A

MELAKA

Malaysia’s soothing centre of culture

Bathing in colonial influences and architecture, Melaka is a coastal region that is ready to explore with its vibrant culture and extensive history Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Joe Palliser

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SITUATED ALONG THE Strait of Malacca, Melaka has become a spirited region along Malaysia’s southwestern shores, having thrived as a leading national trade hub for centuries. With the state having been founded in 1400, it is renowned as the birthplace of the Malay Kingdom and once stood as the most established port in the whole of Southeast Asia during the 16th century. To this end, it is steeped in rich and extensive histories with a number of ancient landmarks and heritage structures, being the first place that

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colonial settlers first encountered in Malaysia. From China to Britain to Spain, a multitude of different influences can be found throughout Melaka’s architecture. Compared to other tourist hotspots and business travel hubs across Malaysia, Melaka provides a unique experience that is not to be overlooked. Culturally, it is worlds

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ASIA apart from the likes of Kuala Lumpur, embodying tranquillity, harmony and curiosity. From a web of narrow charming lanes to colourful houses in Melaka City to bright fauna and flora in the quaint rural suburbs, it is easy to see why the region was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

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M E L A K A

The Business End

FACTS & FIGURES

AS AN EPICENTRE of world trade centuries ago, Melaka was key to the growth of the spice and textile industries, with Indian, Arab and European merchants all regularly utilising the Port of Melaka. Today, the region still relies heavily on its manufacturing and trade from an economic perspective, known as a key national exporter of rubber. Now a material that is used widely around the world, the Malaccan Chinese were the first to undertake large scale commercial rubber production, having done so since the turn of the 20th century. As a core part of Malaysia’s economic backbone, the government

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has continued to promote Melaka as a hub for investment, evident in that it received RM22 billion in investment from multinational companies into its manufacturing sector last year – a record for the state. Aside from its manufacturing practices, the country is increasingly enjoying successes from its growing tourism trade, evident in the rise in the number of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops that have continued to sprout up in recent years. Further, 2017 saw a record 16.7 million tourists visiting the region, making it the second most visited place in Malaysia after the capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

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Languages: Malaysian, English, Malay Area: 277 km2 Population (2015): 872,900 GDP (2015): RM37.3 billion Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM) Time zone: GMT+8 Dialling code: +60 12 Internet TLD: .my Climate: Equatorial Highest recorded temperature: 40°C


M E L A K A

Tourism Melaka TESTAMENT TO THIS rise is Melaka Tourism, a key entity that has been fundamental in raising the status and awareness of the region’s tourism, headed up by Zairi Suboh, the organisation’s General Manager. Tracking trends, collaborating with regional players and strategically marketing to different target audiences and segments, Tourism Melaka continues to bolster the region’s economy through the medium of tourism. Speaking to Suboh, we discover how and why the organisation came about, and how Melaka is becoming one of Malaysia’s, and indeed Southeast Asia’s, most prestigious destinations.

state that has been on the UNESCO Heritage List since 2008. Under the administration of the Melaka Chief Minister’s Department, Tourism Melaka aims to continuously expand the initiatives on promoting Melaka. Retaining the state as one of the main tourist destinations in the country, Tourism Melaka’s success is owed to its ability to provide bespoke activities based on its visitor’s needs.

AsO: Since inception, how has Tourism Melaka developed and progressed in terms of what it has achieved in aiding the national industry? ZS: Through these extensive promotional activities, Tourism Melaka Asia Outlook (AsO): Can you firstly has successfully attracted more than talk me through the origins of the five million foreign tourists from China, Tourism Melaka, how it came about, and Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and its initial vision? Hong Kong, each drawn to witness the Zairi Suboh (ZS): Tourism remains of the Portuguese, Dutch and Melaka, formerly known as Tourism British colonial eras, amidst others. Promotion Division (Bahagian Promosi The 16th-century St Paul’s Church, Pelancongan), plays a crucial role in A’Famosa, Stadthuys, the open tomb attracting tourists to the region and of St Francis Xavier, and Christ Church

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are among the top stops often in the tourists’ to-go list. Next year we will be promoting our Visit Melaka Year (VMY) 2019 campaign, geared towards showcasing and celebrating Melaka’s bountiful and diverse cultures as a tourist attraction. Themed ‘A Gateway to Historic Malaysia’, the year-long calendar is packed with festivities of every genre, including cultural festivals, shopping extravaganzas, internationally acclaimed events, eco-tourism events, arts, music, food promotion and alike. AsO: Can you provide some insight into the cultural essence and history of Melaka? ZS: Often referred to as the Venice of the East, Melaka’s appeal lies in its rich and colourful past. Growing from a quaint fishing village to one of the richest ports in the world and greatest trading empires by the 16th century, Melaka came to enjoy a reputation as one of the leading maritime trade hubs across Southeast Asia.


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Merchants the world over, from Arabia to China to Europe, came to conduct trade in silk, spices, gold and porcelain, amongst other things. However, today there’s a lot more to Melaka in addition to its tales, legends and histories. Hundreds of years of multi-cultural influences have helped to imbed a multitude of customs, foods, languages and festivals throughout the region. AsO: In your eyes, why should someone visit Melaka? ZS: Millions of tourists visit Melaka each year, and for good reason. The heart of the city displays a number of internationally acclaimed hotels and accommodation, catering to a range of different tastes. You can hail a trishaw for a ride along

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winding streets, taking in the colourful mishmash of architectural styles, cruise along the world-famous Melaka River, or explore the countryside that has tales to tell, of war and treachery, romance and heartbreak. Historical influences define Melaka with a delightful mixture of people and cultures, all of whom contribute to the charm of this city. Melaka offers an abundance of activities and nature pursuits, while those seeking quality

“Melaka today is a busy place to be, bustling with activities and trade expansions of a different ilk”

ASIA healthcare or education don’t have to look any further than Melaka’s excellent facilities. AsO: How would you say Melaka has developed in recent years as a business travel hub and what are the key reasons behind its growing appeal? ZS: Melaka is strategically located between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, making it the ideal focal point for organisers to have international meetings and conferences outside of the capital. Melaka today is a busy place to be, bustling with activities and trade expansions of a different ilk. In terms of Melaka as a MICE destination, it is unrivalled. Its immersive heritage and culture, low crime rate, stable economy and political environment, and affordability are just a few reasons for its popularity. Meanwhile, Melaka offers wide choice of venues for such events, ranging from the international trade centre to hotels with MICE facilities and shell sites to multi-purpose facilities.

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M E L A K A

Out & About RUNNING THROUGH THE centre of Melaka City is the Melaka river, a focal point that has endearing shops and charismatic architecture scattered on either side. Wandering alongside the river and exploring the surrounding streets is a soothing activity in itself, while Jonker Walk offers a level of hustle and bustle that many might consider to be typical of an Asian market town. Equally, Melaka’s food is renowned as some of Malaysia’s best. With a substantial number of eateries competing, from street food to five-star restaurants, those hoping to be satisfied on a culinary level will likely have their expectations exceeded when visiting. Alongside the region’s abundant culture that can be explored for hours,

from museums to mosques, the sea nearby also provides the opportunity for a number of unique activities and excursions. A highlight for many is the opportunity to help release hatched baby turtles into the ocean at the Padang Kemunting beaches, whilst deep sea fishing at an offshore kelong at Pantai Siring is also a must for those looking to immerse themselves in local life. Aside from the tranquillity of such activities, however, Melaka is also well versed in the commercial spheres. Pulau Melaka, an up-and-coming area of the state, is home to Harbour City – a building comprising of a mall, hotel and theme park across a 500,000 square foot area.

The Geographer Cafe during Chinese New Year

Running through the centre of Melaka City is the Melaka river

Melaka Straits Mosque is located on man-made Malacca Island

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Visiting Melaka is incomplete without cruising Sungai Melaka. Along the river you could see the remaining of historical buildings, old shops, riverside cafes and many more.

please visit our website www.melakarivercruise.my for more information

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M E L A K A

Outlook Recommends “Recent years have seen Melaka capitalise on its illustrious history and assert itself as one of Malaysia’s most irresistible tourist draws” – Lonely Planet

TRAVEL

HOSPITALITY

THINGS TO DO

The Pines Hotel

Melaka River Cruise

Casa del Rio

Baba-Nyona Museum

The Settlement Hotel

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Malaysia Airports Malaysia Airports manages and operates 39 airports across Malaysia. In September 2017, it launched FlyKLIA, an online portal which aims to enhance airport users’ travel experience by creating a platform for both business and leisure travellers to come together and share experiences. In doing this, Malaysia Airports is able to promote and provide first-hand information on destinations in both its home country and around the world.

Malacca Executive Taxi Services Felda Travel 10

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RESTAURANTS

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Outlook Publishing’s awardwinning in-house team is now utilising its extensive production skills to offer a full and bespoke range of editorial, design and marketing services via its new Outlook Creative Services division.

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M E L A K A

MAP: ©OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Transport Links

A trishaw passing the Baba-Nyona Museum

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posing as the most viable options. However, prices can vary from RM60 to RM260, so buses are recommended for those looking to watch their expenses. Getting around the inner streets of Melaka is a similar deal. Designated buses provide regular public transport services, including the Panorama Melaka tourist bus, whilst taxis can also be found in abundance. For shorter distances, trishaws offer

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PHOTO: PASCAL KOBEH

MELAKA CATERS FOR both domestic and international visitation, largely through the Melaka International Airport. Located approximately 10 kilometres from Melaka city, the travel hub serves both the city itself and surrounding region, having handled 62,076 passengers last year. From the airport, there are a number of ways to travel, with buses and taxis

Take a river cruise

a more relaxing option, synonymous with much of Melaka’s tranquil culture. Riders are often also knowledgeable about the local area, so it can be a great way to explore the city’s sites whilst learning about their significance. Car rental is an option for visitors who prefer to have a greater level of flexibility and do things at their own pace, with a number of different vendors situated in and around the city and airport.


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Landmark Attractions Taming Sari Tower

“Located in the popular district of Bandar Hilir on Jalan Merdeka, only 3 minutes’ walk from Mahkota Parade Shopping Complex and Dataran Pahlawan Megamall, the tower is named after the Taming Sari keris, a mythical weapon said to possess mystical powers belonging to the legendary Malay warrior, Hang Tuah” – Hotels.com

St. Paul’s Church

Baba-Nyona Museum

“The interesting unique blend of cultures is born after the intermarriages between the Chinese and the local Malay. The exceptional culture can now be seen and indulge in the renowned Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum” – attractionsinmalaysia.com

BY CHONGKIAN - OWN WORK, CC BY-SA 4.0,

“The view from up here is definitely splendid. On a clear day, you can see as far out to the neighbouring land of Indonesia. The fort definitely commands a good view and is a good place to take a few snapshots of your visit to Melaka” – Holidaygogogo

Red Square

“Constructed between 1660 and 1700, the terracotta buildings showcase colonial Dutch style: the clock tower, the state house, the church all coloured a memorable dusty red, with louvered windows and thick iron doors” – inspirock

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BusinessTravel Guide joe.palliser@outlookpublishing.com

+44 (0)1603 959 676

ryan.gray@outlookpublishing.com

+44 (0)1603 959 672

jordan.levey@outlookpublishing.com

+44 (0)1603 959 668

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MELAKA BUSINESS TRAVEL GUIDE  

Melaka Business Travel Guide - Asia Outlook Issue 36

MELAKA BUSINESS TRAVEL GUIDE  

Melaka Business Travel Guide - Asia Outlook Issue 36