The Time is now. The place is Malaysia.
Every year, we spend more than RM100 million in advertising and promotion campaigns to attract tourists to Malaysia. For the Visit Malaysia 2007 campaign, the figure climbs to RM 200 million.
We have no qualms in spending so much money to attract foreign tourists to our beautiful country but we must try our best to make every tourist feel at home in Malaysia. No amount of A&P budget could match the power of hospitality when come to making positive impact and lasting impression to our foreign visitors.
Thailand has been very successful in tourism simply because the Thais have a unique way to make tourists feel truly at home in their country.
From the officials at the point-of-entry right to the taxi drivers in the streets and the hotel, restaurant and pub operators, we all have a crucial role to attract tourists to our shores.
Taxi drivers must know that over-charging tourists is not a small matter.
The recent send-back of a Chinese female tourist just because the lady did not carry enough money with her (USD 1,500) at LCCT Subang is an unacceptable crime on the part of our immigration officials.
And the recent news about the barring of female guests from China and several other countries into local pubs and karaoke lounges is another “no, no” . Such practises seriously violate human rights and have given Malaysia a very bad name. Who would like to visit a country where their lady companions were not welcome and put to shame?
The nude-squat incident was certainly a wet-blanket and we hope our police have learned a great lesson over the incident.
The atrocious murder of the Mongolian beauty is a big blow to our national image and perception. The whole world is watching us intensively. Justice must seen to be done on this case to restore the confidence of foreigners.
The Umno politicians must also refrain from waving their keris and making insensitive and provative remarks in the assemblies and media. They must realise that such antics have sent wrong and negative signals to foreign visitors.
And we must release all the so-called “KMM” ISA detainees in Kamunting immediately. We really do not have Al Qaeda elements in our peaceful country. Holding them further in detention camps is a sin and this only serve to mislead our foreign friends to believe that Malaysia is indeed a hub of terrorists. We hope the new King can seriously consider a pardon in this direction.
The RM200 million will go down to the drains if we have too many “black sheep” in our midst. Any self-inflicted negative imagery must be removed at all cost immediately.
Malaysia is a land of great diversities with many different cultures and traditions. This in itself a great attraction to many foreign tourists.
Thanks to our diversed cultures, foods, heritage and religions, we have a great potential to make the Chinese from China and Taiwan to feel at home in Malaysia. The latest statistics shows that China alone would have more than 60 million tourists going abroad for vacations next year. Just imagine the potential if we can make Malaysia the number one destination of the Chinese from mainland China.
Likewise, we can make the Indians, Indonesians and Arabs to fell at home here. Even the “mat sallehs” from the West can feel at home in Malaysia. In that sense, to describe Malaysia “truly Asia” is an understatement.
Together we ‘ll make Malaysia free of prejudice, distrust, crime and discrimination. We must make Malaysia a safe tropical paradise to win the world over. Selamat Datang (Welcome) to Malaysia!!! Vanakum!!! Huan Ying Ni Lai Ma Lai Xi Ya!
Guang Ming Daily interviewed me on the subject on 20 Dec and here’s the story…
updated:2006-12-20 19:31:23 MYT