Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We Must Ensure Tourists’ Safety

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians must instil confidence in foreigners who visit the country, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Commenting on an incident of a family holiday that ended in tragedy at a hotel swimming pool on Sunday, he said: “With so much promotion on Visit Malaysia 2007, such incidences should not occur.

“We need to instil confidence in tourists and not scare them away.”

In that incident, a 10-year-old boy from Sri Lanka drowned while swimming in a hotel pool at Jalan Pudu here.

New Look: Staff at the Tourism Centre proudly display the revamped Malaysia Tourist Page 2007 during its launch on Tuesday.

Tengku Adnan said he would investigate the matter as such cases could affect the tourism industry. He was speaking to reporters after launching a guide book titled Malaysia Tourist Page 2007 at the Malaysia Tourist Centre here yesterday.

He suggested that hotels with 1.5m-deep swimming pools employ lifeguards.

He said it would be ideal for the pools to be one-metre-deep to prevent untoward incidences.

“If the pools are deep, the hotel management should be responsible enough to employ a lifeguard,” he said.

He said besides hotels, others involved in the industry, either directly and indirectly, should play a role to ensure the success of VMY 2007.

“There are many other issues that can drive tourists away, such as taxi drivers overcharging fares and touts operating at the KL International Airport luring them (tourists) to illegal taxis and tours.

“I have been told of a few cases of tourists who had made prior arrangements with tour operators being lured by touts who claimed the visitors could seek a refund from their earlier operator.

“That is not all. I recently received an e-mail from a couple relating their nightmare during their visit to Kuala Lumpur. One of them was a snatch theft victim.

“They claimed their nightmare did not stop there. When they boarded a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, their bags were ransacked and their jewellery went missing.”

On complaints from residents on the noise level from the daily fireworks display at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, he said the ministry would now have the display only on weekends.

“Since we have an agreement with the organising company, the show will be carried out only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of February,'' he said.

From March, there will be laser shows and films showing the history and faces of Malaysia.

Source : STAR
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