Saturday, February 10, 2007

One tourism academy for all

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor wants to stop the proliferation of private tourism schools.

Commenting on the under-utilised Malacca Tourism Academy, Adnan said it was a mistake to allow the private sector to conduct tourism courses and training.

"We are thinking of running just one genuine school or academy that caters to all tourism-related courses," he said.

The ministry plans to open a tourism school and massage and spa academy that will be fully operated by the government to avoid misuse.

He indicated that privately run institutions, especially those offering programmes that are not accredited, may be stopped from offering tourism-related training.

Adnan said this at a hotel management contract-signing ceremony between Mudra Resources Sdn Bhd and Residence Hotels and Resorts Sdn Bhd for M-suites Hotel in Johor Baru.

Under the agreement, Residence Hotels will manage M-suites Hotel, which will be rebranded as M-suites Residence Hotel.

In Malacca, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the multi-million ringgit Malacca Tourism Academy (Akademi Pelancongan Melaka) was built in Jasin to boost the tourism industry in the district.

He told the New Straits Times yesterday that the rationale behind its was "to promote Jasin to tourists".

When asked if the location was deemed unsuitable as trainers from the academy had to travel from Malacca to conduct courses, Ali said: "The distance between Jasin and Malacca is not far, it’s only half an hour’s drive."

Mohd Ali said this when asked to comment on an NST report that the academy’s location had prompted many to question the justification to choose a site 40km from the city.

"It would have been better to build the academy in Melaka Tengah, it would not have gone to waste," said a travel agency operator who declined to be named.

To this, Mohd Ali said that distance should not be an excuse for the courses not to be conducted at the academy.

To date, APM had conducted 64 training sessions around the state and the academy had only been used for 21 in-house courses since its completion in August last year.

Other courses were conducted at hotels in the Melaka Tengah district, the Malacca City Council building and Dewan JEPERUN in Alor Gajah.

The academy’s manager Salman Salim said 43 courses were held in these hotels due to their proximity to the city.

Salman stressed that the "establishment of APM would not end up as a white elephant".

He said the academy had played its role to boost tourism in the district.

"We conduct food handling courses here as one of our core activities. This course is important to ensure that all Malacca food handlers are practising proper food hygiene.

"Our rooms and facilities are also being leased out for seminars.

"We promote tourism by giving out information on tourist attractions in Jasin, such as the Gunung Asahan, Asahan Lake and the Asahan Hot Springs."

Source : NST
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