Since the announcement of Malacca and Georgetown as World Heritage Cities in 2008, both cities have seen a rise of local and foreign tourists arrivals. Melaka has seen tourists arrival increase from 8 million in 2008 to about an estimate of 13 million visitors in 2012 or about 15% increase year on year basis. These arrivals have helped Melaka and Malaccans economically and tourism is regarded as one of major source of income despite her small population. Malaccans cannot deny that fact tourism has benefitted them.
With Melaka being world recognised as a heritage city, property prices and rentals within the Heritage city areas have jumped by 30%. Within the Jonker street and Heeren street, heritage freehold shophouses prices are now being offered between 3 to 5 Million Ringgit which are unheard of previously.
Foreigners especially Singaporeans and Australians consider these prices as cheap in relative terms to the exchange rates. Singaporeans in particular are buying up these properties as investments since Melaka is just 3.5 hours drive away from Singapore.
At the same time, property owners within Melaka are also asking for higher rentals for businesses. Some businessmen from KL are also coming in to invest in properties and businesses as they see the potential of Melaka as a popular tourist destination. Similar trends are also seen in Georgetown, Penang.
New developments in international brands and boutique hotels are being constructed in Melaka and shopping malls are being built on reclaimed land around Bandar Hilir and Klebang. Hopefully, with the construction of new roads such as the coastal road at Klebang and expansion of the Ayer Keroh highway (construction of flyovers at strategic interchanges) will end weekend traffic jams.
Melaka Historical City council should undertake and develop a masterplan so that Melaka can benefit from this in years ahead.