Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Smile more, the Tourists are Coming

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Malaysians must be more welcoming to visitors, particularly in view of the massive international promotion of the country for Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

"We want to promote the country as a tourism destination but that will
not happen if service providers don’t buck up. Please smile more," he

"Taxi drivers should also stop swindling tourists and charging them ridiculous sums for fares that cost less than RM5."

Tengku Adnan said this during the roll-out of AirAsia’s latest aircraft, the Airbus A320, at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal. The plane carries the VMY 2007 logo.

He also said that people should stop pointing fingers at the ministry whenever foreigners misused their tourist visas and got involved in vice activities.

The ministry hopes to attract over 20 million visitors this year, and garner at least RM44.5 billion in receipts.

Last year’s receipts were one billion short of the RM37.5 billion target, and the pace needs to be speeded up now to reach the goal of 40 million visitors by 2020.

"We must encourage more long-haul tourists who stay more than a week. Right now, the average stands at 6.2 nights," he said, adding that, so far, VMY 2007 was on target.

Tengku Adnan said, thanks to AirAsia, Malaysia had received close to 1.3 million Indonesians who come over for the weekend to shop. They arrive on Friday and go home on Sunday.

He said the ministry was planning to provide a free service to shoppers,
mainly from Indonesia, Thailand and Brunei with excess baggage.

"We will send their shopping home for free," he said. "It will be packed and air-freighted to them."

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes and the director-general of Tourism Malaysia Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab attended the event.

Source : NST
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