Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Barisan and Pakatan Rakyat to get same tourism budget

All states, including those governed by Pakatan Rakyat, will be given the same allocation for tourism development.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said there would be no cut in terms of aid and allocation.

“I love them and they love me,” said Azalina, referring to Pakatan state governments.

She said this after chairing the first National Tourism Council Conference at the Saloma Cafe in Jalan Ampang yesterday.

Also present at the conference were tourism state exco members from Pakatan states of Perak, Penang, Selangor and Kedah.

They were among the 168 representatives from the tourism sector attending a dialogue session with the ministry on tourism-related matters.Azalina said Penang, Langkawi and a wetland in Perak were favourite destinations of foreign tourists, and efforts would be put in to ensure the continuity of tourist arrivals.

She also said with the petrol price increase, the ministry would focus on promoting domestic tourism, which she expected to pick up.

While she welcomed AirAsia and MAS offering low fares, Azalina said the ministry would also talk to KTM and bus companies to boost budget domestic tour packages.In April, Azalina faced criticism when she announced that tourism memorandums of understanding with Pakatan-ruled state governments would be terminated given the change in leadership.

She said this was in line with the termination of Tourism Action Councils, previously chaired by Barisan Nasional’s state executive councillors in charge of tourism, in these states.

Later in May, she said the ministry will not “pull the plug” on tourism promotion activities in these states, as tourism revenue was crucial for economic growth.

Source : STAR
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