KUALA TERENGGANU: Despite having their hands full battling the north-easterly monsoon floods, Terengganu’s tourism continues to thrive.
Beginning tomorrow (Thursday) for four days, thousands will congregate at Tasik Kenyir for the ‘Asean Monsoon Casting Tournament 2017’.
The event comes just as the ‘Terengganu Monsoon Challenge Sailing GP 2017’ ended at the Duyong Marina and Resort last Saturday.
Terengganu Toursim Department director Tun Ahmad Faisal Tun Abdul Razak said the ‘Asean Monsoon Casting Tournament 2017’ would kick-off with the release of 100,000 fish fry into Sungai Leban near Pengkalan Gawi in Tasik Kenyir.
“A total of 350 professional anglers will pit their skills at catching the various species at the lake.
“However, the event will revolve around the ‘catch and release’ concept so as not to reduce the game fish population at Tasik Kenyir,” said Faisal, adding that Austrian professional angler Patrick Erler would also introduce the ‘fish tagging’ programme to monitor the fish at the lake.
Tun Faisal added that the two mega events held during the monsoon season were to prevent a lull and loss of revenue over three months from November through January.
“This is the period when Terengganu’s idyllic islands in the South China Sea are off limits owing to adverse weather. There will also be barely any visitors to Terengganu’s other tourist spots when floods occur.
“Thus, we have come up with ideas to counter this drop in visitors by organising large activities,to continue drawing in the crowd which will benefit the hotel, food and beverage and hospitality industries,” said Tun Faisal.
He added Terengganu was able to overcome the odds to host water sports so as not have a lull to accommodate the stormy weather.
“Sport-fishing is big business in Europe, Australia and the United States accounting for over US$1 billion a year. Thus, we want to aggressively promote events like this as an alternate tourism attraction to allay negative perceptions during the monsoon season.
“We have to change the mindset that no tourism activities can be conducted during the monsoon season.
“Also, we want to attract more foreign tourists, who have greater spending power, and introduce them to other tour packages, as we popularise Tasik Kenyir as a responsible and sustainable eco-tourism spot,” said Tun Faisal.
The tournament has attracted 350 anglers from the Asean region and Austria, South Korea, Japan, China, Australia and the United States.
Participants will stay in 14 houseboats and utilise 150 fibre motor-boats for angling activities.
He said four of the best local anglers will represent Terengganu at the “International Bass Fishing at Andong Lake in South Korea early next year.
Asean Monsoon Casting Tournament advisor Ibrahim Anom @ Ujang, who is also a professional caricaturist, said that the tournament was the result of a gathering of a group of ‘kaki pancing’ (avid anglers) since 1986 at Tasik Kenyir.
He said for 2015 and last year, a total of 60,500 fish fry from various species like toman, temoleh, lampam, kelah, jelawat, kerandang and sebarau were released into Tasik Kenyir.
Meanwhile, Terengganu financial officer Datuk Abdul Rahman Yahya said the sailing event concluded successfully on schedule despite heavy rain, strong currents and wind.
“The strong winds came in handy, as we needed at least four to six knots for ideal competition.
“Thus, it was a monsoon challenge, after all,” he said of the event that attracted 300 local and foreign participants from Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan.
Over 10,000 visitors converged for the sailing event to help contribute significantly to the tourism revenue of Terengganu.
The sailing event included local traditional sports like sampan (small boat) rowing, tug-of-war, and awards for Best Team, Duyong Round Island Chall
e nge, Remote Control Challenge, Race Board, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, UMT-IPT Open Championship 2017, Terengganu Novice Open and Terengganu Monsoon Challenge.
Rahman hoped more such sailing events would be held to help Terengganu groom more talented sailors. For the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games, Terengganu’s sailors helped Malaysia bag six gold, four silver and four bronze medals.
Terengganu has estimated its tourism revenue to be around RM5 billion from the targeted 5.6 million visitors for its ‘Visit Beautiful Terengganu 2017’ programme.
Source : New Straits Times