KUALA TERENGGANU, June 9 (Bernama) -- The Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival (FCSAT) organised for the second time this year has achieved the state's objective in attracting foreign and local tourists to the state, said Terengganu Tourism and Culture Committee Chairman, Datuk Mohd Jidin Shafee.
He said this was because last year the number of tourists increased by 11.9 percent or 4.5 million compared to the previous year which recorded 4.037 million.
"In addition, the expenditure incurred in organising the festival last year was RM1.5 million but we managed to recover a sum of RM2.56 million. This year we reduced the cost of organising the event to RM1 million," he told the Malaysian media at the closing of FCSAT 2015 in Kuala Terengganu Saturday night.
The six-day festival held from Tuesday (June 2 to 7) was attended by 122 international media comprising print and electronic media journalists, bloggers and social media practitioners.
Some 28 countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, Cambodia and Vietnam participated in the event.
Members of the media were given the opportunity to try out squid jigging which is among the unique activities in Terengganu and getting popular among local residents as a pastime or as an additional source of income.
The squid jigging event was held on two occasions in two different locations at two nautical miles from Pulau Redang and Pulau Kapas on Wednesday and two nautical miles from Duyong Marina Resort Jetty, Kuala Terengganu on Saturday.
Mohd Jidin added that this year the state government estimated that more than five million tourists would visit Terengganu and at least RM4.7 billion would be earned through promotional activities, compared to the RM4.5 billion last year.
He said besides promoting Terengganu internationally, these activities could also help improve the standard of living of the local people especially the fishermen who could provide boat services for squid jigging
"After organising the festival last year, we had non-stop requests for squid jigging from tourists. Since January until today, many people are interested in the activity but we have insufficient boats to cater to the crowd.
Mohd Jidin said the state government would continue to organise the festival next year by including a variety of activities and other more interesting tourist sites such as Pulau Perhentian.
In another development, he said Pulau Bayas in Lake Kenyir, Hulu Terengganu would be a fully tax-free area in January next year when the business centre is ready.
The Tasik Kenyir duty-free project was initiated on Sept 21, 2010 after the state government obtained a conditional approval from the Finance Ministry under Section 3 of the Free Zones Act of 1990.