World renowned travel guide book, Lonely Planet, has listed Perak as the ninth (out of ten) top region in the world to visit in 2017. This comes on the heels of its recognition of Ipoh as the sixth best place to visit in Asia in 2016.

Dato’ Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi, Executive Councillor for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Multimedia and Communications, announced this during a press conference on Friday, October 28 at Lost World of Tambun. She attributed the recognition to the combined efforts of the state government, public agencies, industry players, media and Perakeans.

“Perak has been receiving the highest number of domestic tourist in Malaysia for four consecutive years. This would spur us to achieve the 7-million tourist target for 2017 in Perak,” she remarked.

For the latest nomination, Lonely Planet has cited these key areas as the determinants. They are the Royal Belum State Park, Pangkor Island, Kinta Nature Park, cave temple grottos and Ipoh. For instance, guesthouse owners and tour guides on Pangkor Island organise nature walks and village tours, thanks to a mentoring scheme by NGO ECOMY (Ecotourism & Conservation Society Malaysia). The island is also home to the 5-star Pangkor Laut Resort which brims with paradisiacal vibes.

There are many internationally-recognised events in store for visitors next year. Events on the cards are Ipoh Cycle Fest, the Poetry and Folk Songs International Festival, Pangkor International Development Dialogue, Perak International Magic Festival and Perak International Drum Festival.

In conjunction with Visit Perak Year 2017, the state is offering the “Perak Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Dekat Je” package that comprises 65 chosen destinations in 12 travel themes: agro tourism, family and fun, island and beaches, eco adventure, homestay, angling tourism, heritage, team building, medical tourism, cycling, food and mosque trails. Besides that, the tourism board also has the World of Wonders package, homestay package and village tours set to attract both local and foreign tourists. Since Pahang and Terengganu are celebrati ng their visit year too, there are exclusive packages for tourists to visit all three states in a span of a few days. For further details on these packages, call Tourism Perak at 05 249 9966.

“The majority of our international tourists hail from Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia,” Nolee added.

Present at the press conference were Ibrahim Seddiqi, director of Tourism Malaysia Perak, Mohd Hizaz bin Mohd Ibrahim, director of Ministry of Tourism and Culture Perak Office and Zuraida Majid, the newly-appointed CEO of Tourism Perak Management Berhad.

The nine other offbeat destinations listed by Lonely Planet are Choquequirao, Peru; Taranaki, New Zealand; The Azores, Portugal; North Wales, UK; South Australia; Ayse?n, Chile; The Tuamotus, French Polynesia; Coastal Georgia, USA and The Skellig Ring, Ireland.

Mei Kuan