Why Should Tourists Visit Malaysia?
If I were a tourist planning to come here to spend my good money for a pleasant holiday, that headline will have the direct effect of worrying me to the core. 'What negative reports?' will be the first question. 'Is it worth going there?' will be the second of many more unanswered questions.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that Hong Kong tourists are advised not to be influenced by the negative media reports about Malaysia especially regarding the country's treatment towards foreign tourists. He said the ministry was also seriously addressing the negative media reports about the country to ensure they did not hamper Malaysia's efforts to woo foreign tourists during the VMY 2007.
Note, that he does not say that the 'negative' media reports are untrue, but merely asking tourists not to be influenced. How can our tourism industry flourish if the powers that be don't take a very serious look at the travails of foreign tourists and do something about it. As long as the police, the immigration department and other culprits directly responsible for this negative reporting are not curbed, foreign tourists will not be in too much of a hurry to rush to spend their vacations and their cash in Malaysia.
No amount of assurance from the minister or anyone else is going to make a difference. Remember, the tourists are doing us a favour and they are spoilt for choice. There is unfortunately nothing in Malaysia that they can't get elsewhere without having to worry about either their convenience or their safety.
So tourism minister if you want to assure them, fine, but please do something about the internal conditions too. Stop the harassment of Permanent Residents. Remember they have lots of relatives and friends in their native lands who are watching what happens to them here. Add to that the impression that Malaysia is an Islamic country. Apart from Middle Eastern tourists who might find that appealing, to others it is a put off. Therefore it takes greater effort on the part of Malaysia than say Singapore to draw the same non-Muslim tourist.