Friday, June 08, 2007

Try new ways to woo young British tourists, says Najib

Efforts to promote Malaysia as a tourist destination abroad need a new approach.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in the United Kingdom, the younger set of Britons did not know much about Malaysia, unlike the older generation.

He said the government could no longer just rely on historical ties to woo young Britons, as many of them do not know the historical link between the nations.

"We cannot solely depend on our long historical relations under the old perspective, as there are those, among the new generation of Britons, who do not know us.

"They don’t know and have not been to Malaysia," he said after visiting the "Malaysia Week’ 07" site at Covent Garden Market.

Najib had, in his speech at a gala dinner here on Tuesday, said Malaysia had fewer British tourist arrivals compared with our neighbours, despite the countries sharing interests in cultural, business and trade.

Stressing the need to step up the drive to promote Malaysia abroad, he said events like "Malaysia Week" should be made an annual event as it would introduce Malaysia not only to the Britons but also to tourists visiting the Covent Garden Market.

"It is appropriate that ‘Malaysia Week’ in the UK be made an annual event. Most likely, it will be continued next year and the years to come. "

Najib said he had received positive feedback from UK tourists who visited Malaysia and this must be given due attention by relevant authorities to ensure tourists spots and attractions were well maintained and there was improvement on how foreigners were treated.

"Overall, there has been an increase in tourist arrivals from the UK to Malaysia last year, up by 17 per cent compared with the previous year.

"The trend towards a further increase is encouraging but in the Asean context, we are in third spot," he added.

The five-day Malaysia Week ’07 is a joint effort of the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the Tourism Ministry, in collaboration with various agencies to promote Malaysia to the European community.

Apart from cultural performances, batik and songket fashion shows, and food and craft promotions, this year’s focus will be on Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.

The event, hosted for the first time last year, attracted more than 60,000 visitors

Source : NST
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