Gaya Travel Magazine team catches up with the newly appointed Yang Dipertua of Seremban Municipal Council, Dato’ Haji Zazali Bin Salehudin, as he illustrates how Seremban is taking steps towards becoming a competitive destination for travellers in Malaysia.
According to the statistics recorded by Negeri Sembilan Executive Councillor for Tourism, Seremban is ranked as the second most visited district in the state, consistently receiving increasing number of tourist arrivals over the past few years. Seremban takes advantage of its strategic location, being close to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2, the country’s main gateways. The district is also a popular stopover along the heavily utilised North-South Highway. As such, the State Government has earmarked this district – together with its beach-side neighbour Port Dickson – as the state’s main tourism hub, as part of its effort to lure more visitors.
And that’s where Dato’ Haji Zazali comes in. With over 30 years of experience serving the state, he is positive that the goal of developing Seremban into a competitive tourism destination is achievable. He believes that the district’s wealth of historical vestiges, heritage, and traditional customs along with delectable delicacies, could make Seremban an attractive place. In fact, based on research by Inti University College in 2017, the main factor that drew people into Seremban is its food offerings.
“Everybody knows about masak lemak cili padi (strongly spicy yellow curry). But that’s not all; we also have plenty of traditional local flavours that we can offer, for example, itik salai, the recipe that leaves the duck smoked in low temperature for half a day at least. It is now a hit among visitors. We have people driving in all the way from their home town just to have a meal in Seremban,” shares Dato’ Haji Zazali.
At the same time, his office is currently rehabilitating several historical sites in Seremban by converting them into attractions relevant to this day and age that visitors can enjoy. One example is the Temiang Road, which reflects the harmony of Seremban’s multi-ethnic society that has been in existence for a long time. Several places of worship are located along this road, including the 155-year-old Then Tze Temple, Sri Selva Vinayagar Chettiar Temple, and the Indian Muslim Mosque.
Dato’ Haji Zazali also sees tourism as the main driver for local economic development. He explains that tourism and other industries can be cohesively linked to increase the competitiveness of the district’s small and medium enterprises, and this would bring about a healthier environment for the local population as it creates more job opportunities now and the years to come.
“Industrialisation affects society as a whole. We need to have all relevant stakeholders involved in all stages of tourism development, from planning to implementation. This is why we have come up with the Seremban Strategic Development and Tourism Plan 2018-2023, which encapsulates efforts to enhance the quality of service, improve local infrastructure and increase Seremban’s overall attractiveness in the eyes of visitors and investors,” Dato’ Haji Zazali adds.
Furthermore, Dato’ Haji Zazali’s office also seeks to collaborate with reliable travel agencies to bring more groups of travellers into Seremban. So far, Seremban has steadily been receiving international arrivals especially from China, bound for Johor, including a growing number of Middle East travellers.
In short, Dato’ Haji Zazali plans to make Seremban into a vibrant liveable district that not only draws visitors and investors but also enriches the local population. He hopes that when the time comes, every facet of the district such as services, facilities, infrastructure and product offerings are ready to meet the demands and expectations of both residents and visitors alike, thus turning Seremban into a destination of choice.