Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tourism unit to focus on emerging markets

The Commonwealth Tourism Centre (CTC) in Kuala Lumpur will “close shop” and turn into a special unit focusing on emerging markets in China, India and the Middle East.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said it would act as a research centre utilising the existing manpower, skills and strategies towards the new markets.

She said the unit would focus on tourism mapping and analysis on changing trends which could benefit the economy.

Azalina said Malaysia had been “baby-sitting” the centre for the past three years and had spent RM5.1mil in its set-up and operations, such as organising courses, seminars and other activities.

She said Malaysia was prepared to commit another RM6mil until 2010 but the other members must also contribute their share as the burden should not rest on the host country alone.

“Since they are reluctant to contribute, we will stop funding the centre as it’s not fair on us,” she told Malaysian journalists after attending the Commonwealth Tourism Ministers meeting at Marlborough House here yesterday.

Azalina quoted an analogy: “Dia nak kahwin tapi tak nak bagi nafkah kan? Bukan kita nak minta cerai (they want to marry but do not want to pay maintenance. It’s not that we want to seek a divorce).”

She added she would brief the Cabinet on the decision where some countries like South Africa, Botswana and Jamaica felt another body like the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) could have done a better job.

The minister said the Commonwealth comprised a mix of developing and developed countries like Britain, Australia and Canada which did not need the CTC.

The smaller countries, on the other hand, did not have the financial capacity to contribute towards its funding, she said.

She said the centre would be relocated to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London where a tourism unit would handle such issues.

Azalina said the meeting also agreed to focus on domestic markets, eco-tourism and grouping countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as one cultural entity in facing the economic crisis.

Source : STAR
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