Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kelantan’s image badly misconstrued by Singaporeans

Kelantan Tourism Action Council director Muhammad Zaki Taib received a rude shock recently when he found himself answering queer questions from Singaporeans who were more anxious to find out about the decapitation of limbs, dirty toilets and the backward image of the state rather than its tourism potential.

Zaki found some of the questions amusing but on a serious note, disclosed that the image of the state was badly misconstrued by many including travel trade players in neighbouring countries.

Zaki said the lack of information and confusion generated over the PAS-led state government’s stand on ‘‘hudud laws,’’ had in some way generated fear among Singaporeans.

He recently participated in a question-and-answer session with Singaporean travel agents at the Kota Baru Municipal Council’s (MPKB) hall.

MPKB public relations department was answering most of the questions posed by the agents.

‘‘I was surprised with their questions and it did not occur to me that they could be ill-informed about Kelantan when the state, at the same time, has received rave remarks from several foreign tourists over their stay here,’ said Zaki.

The travel agents eventually concluded that Kelantan was no different from other states and they had promised to promote the state back home, he said in an interview.

Next month, a total of 400 Singaporean tourists will be coming to visit all the tourist locations in Kelantan and they will be staying in the state for at least four nights, Zaki said.

He also said that the council had tried to tap the Singaporean market for the past several years but found difficulty in doing so as Kelantan’s location was too far for their liking. However, the council would continue to work hard, Zaki said.

‘‘I believe this first batch of Singaporeans will be the start to seeing bus loads of such tourists making a beeline here during every school holiday at the republic,” he added.

He also said: “Singaporeans will easily spend up to RM500 each per day and this will be a boon to the tourism industry here.’’

He added that the council would also provide all the necessary support for such tourists.

He said the council would also bring in more travel agencies and travel feature writers to give them a more accurate insight of Kelantan. It is important that they receive the correct information as tourism is universal and it makes no difference which type of government is governing.

“The important thing is to ensure that the tourists enjoy themselves and receive value for their money,” Zaki said.

Source : STAR
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