Friday, August 17, 2007

How can we make our Tourists feel at Home during VMY2007

IN TWO weeks, we will be celebrating 50 years of independence, marking all our successes as a nation with a multi-racial population that's able to live in peace and harmony amidst all the terror and tension in the world. Whatever our shortcomings, we should mark this endeavour with pride.

Integrity: Vendors should be honest and offer tourists a fair deal instead of trying to overcharge them.
We will be welcoming visitors from all over the world to celebrate with us. My spouse has organised his 35th class reunion, to be held in Langkawi, which will be attended by over 30 doctors and their families.

They will also see what Malaysia has in store for visitors. As hosts, we must know what to do and do it well. It all boils down to hospitality and good manners.

For many visitors, it will be the first time they’re visiting our country, and first impressions are important.

What will it take for all Malaysians to be excellent hosts? Here are some tips for those who will be in the “eye of the visitor”:

  • All officers in the Immigration Department should offer a welcoming smile and a warm greeting. As visitors, people are often nervous around these officers; many have horror stories to tell about their experiences. So imagine their surprise if our officers were to extend them basic courtesies.

  • Customs officers have to do their duty and it can be done without frightening the visitors off. Visitors and tourists should be treated with respect and not as potential criminals.

  • Cab drivers should not take tourists on unwarranted “scenic tours”. Curb your greed and be fair to the visitors. Use your meters or stick to the apportioned fare. Be a self-appointed guide and talk about the lovely sights they can see in Malaysia.

  • Hoteliers should know what customer service and satisfaction are all about. Roll out the red carpet. Do more than what the visitors expect. Surprise them with your hospitality. Do Malaysia proud. Not everything is about money; goodwill can neither be bought nor sold. Simple things can make a difference.

    If you have a visitor who has not made a reservation, take the trouble to find him a place to stay at another hotel, at least, instead of telling him that your hotel is fully booked and turning him away. Imagine what the grateful guest will tell his friends back home!

  • Bus/ taxi/ limousine drivers are responsible for driving people all over the country. Our highways are not F1 circuits, so please drive carefully. People’s lives are in your hands; they trust you to take them to their destination safely. “Better late than never”, as the adage goes.

  • Food vendors should practise “quality control”. Take pride in what you dish out to your customers. Do you taste the food you serve? Can you stomach what you cook? The food you sell should be fresh, hygienically-prepared and served in a clean environment so that no one has to spend a night in the hospital. Do not compromise on quality and hygiene.

  • Shopkeepers should be honest. The “buyer beware” line of thought is common but there is also something called “trust”. To some degree, the buyer trusts you to be fair in a deal. Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.

  • Now is the time for all Malaysians to show the world who we really are – courteous, helpful, generous of spirit and hospitable. Extend hospitality when the need arises. Allow your visitors the opportunity to see the best of our nation.

    Consider the little courtesies that make a difference: Give up your place in the queue when you see a visitor standing behind you; explain the types of food on the menu if a visitor is puzzled or help him if he is struggling to place an order; give them directions if they look lost.

    As hosts, Malaysians should make our visitors feel that they have made a good choice by coming here.

  • Source : STAR
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