I WAS in Cherating a few days ago for a nephew's wedding. Everyone stayed in Cherating and drove to Kemaman for the wedding reception. I believe Cherating has a lot of potential in terms of tourism but, somehow, I get the feeling that its neither here nor there.
There are some chalets and two-star and three-star hotels in the area. There are a couple of five-star retreats too but they are not within the budget of most local tourists. I know of one hotel which has invested new money to spruce up their resort and this was most welcomed.
I also know of another hotel which boasts of operations elsewhere in the country and overseas but can't even prepare a decent omelette. Do they also breed mosquitoes? I was told by some guests who complained about mosquitoes to the front desk, only to have one of the security officers coming around with a spray can of insecticide!
What about the retail outlets and small restaurants or food stalls in the area? There are some real bad ones. It's as if you are doing them a favour by frequenting their outlet to buy a T-shirt or order some food. And the smell and the flies...
There will always be some foreign tourists in Cherating, especially in Kg Cherating where they stay in small, wooden chalets overlooking the sea. Somehow, they find the area appealing. Most of them are backpackers and some would stay up to a week or more just to relax.
But the locals really need to spruce up the area and improve on their attitude when dealing with tourists, local or foreign. Cherating tourism should come under the Pahang Tourism EXCO. I suggest the YB Adun should take a ride to Cherating and look at things at close quarters.
Go unannounced lah. No need to bring too many officers, as if there's a full-scale entourage going on a special mission. YB will get to see actual situations better this way.
So, when Tourism Malaysia DG Dato Mirza Mohd Taiyab said he wasn't sure if the number of tourist arrivals into Malaysia can be sustained in the current year, I wasn't really surprised. And Cherating may even be forgotten, or at best, remain a holiday destination for backpackers.