New Chief Minister Lim Guang Eng had was taken aback to find out that mundane issues were discussed at high-level tourism meetings.
Such meetings should be used as a platform to discuss policies and bigger matters that could take the tourism industry to greater heights, he said.
"But instead, I was shocked listening to fundamental problems raised at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Penang Chapter meeting today (Wednesday).
"If this is the situation, it reflects the seriousness of the problems in the tourism industry here," he said.
Lim said this Wednesday after a 40min dialogue with Matta members at Cititel here.
He said he was appalled that issues such as ticketing, congestion, cleanliness and lack of enforcement were still being discussed when such fundamental problems should have been resolved long ago.
Lim said he did not have a magical formula to resolve the long-standing issues in the tourism sector.
"But I will appoint an executive councillor in charge of tourism to liaise closely with the players in the industry to restore the shine of Penang," he said, acknowledging that some matters were under the purview of the federal government.
Lim said he would also find out why Penang was left behind in tourism promotion initiatives.
He also called on players in the tourism industry to send him a memorandum on ways to strengthen the tourism industry and restore the shine of the Pearl of the Orient.
"Please don’t raise only questions; I appreciate suggestions," Lim said.
Among the issues brought up during the meeting Wednesday were ticketing problems at Penang Hill, lack of security and parking space at the Penang jetty, lack of cleanliness, lack of enforcement and improperly-maintained colonial buildings.
"I am surprised at the level of problems raised. If this is the extent of the problems in this sector, we have major problems to settle," Lim said.
Source : STAR
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