Friday, May 18, 2007

Honest cabbies, multilingual tour guides will boost tourism industry

There are only two aspects now preventing the country’s tourism industry from performing at its best - taxi drivers and tourist guides.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim, who identified the two front-liners as the “final frontier” in making Malaysia stand proud as a tourist destination, said the Government had done what it could, and it was now up to them to make a change.

“Errant cabbies have been warned and punished, but despite repeated efforts by the Government, many still refuse to use their meters, overcharge and act rudely to tourists.

“We have done what we can, and it is now up to them (cabbies) and the Commercial Vehicles and Licensing Board (CVLB) to assess whether they are playing their role to help the country’s tourism industry,” he said.

Lim also urged the CVLB to re-assess its administrative and operation systems in handling errant cabbies, since the problem was recurring.

He added that a new comprehensive system was needed to ensure the situation would improve, and suggested the CVLB look to other countries for inspiration.

Speaking during the launch of the SEGi College Hotel Management and Tourism Programmes here Friday, Lim also pointed out the need for tourist guides to learn more languages, to attract more tourists from more countries.

“Our tourist guides are excellent when it comes to English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and even Japanese. But then again, we have to broaden our scope because we also have many tourists who do not speak English very well.

“Middle-Eastern tourists, for example, would definitely be very impressed if tourist guides could speak Arabic, and they make up the bulk of tourist arrivals per year.

“Even the Spanish and French language should be picked up as they are widely spoken in many parts of the world,” he said, adding that there were 460,000 people in Malaysia involved in the tourism industry which makes up for 8% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Source : STAR
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