EVERY time I go abroad, I take a keen interest in the tourist potential of the country I am visiting, and when I return home, it reinforces my belief that Tourism Malaysia is not doing justice to promote Malaysia as a cost-competitive and value-for-money holiday destination. There are so many things we can highlight to tourists with a media blitz, but fail to do so.
Malaysia offers among the cheapest hotel rates in the region, and even perhaps the world, but little publicity is given to this strong pull-factor. In comparison to countries in the region and in Asia, where the five-star hotel rates are between US$250 and US$300 (RM880-RM1,060) a day, the daily room rates for five-star hotels in Malaysia average around US$130-US$150 (RM459-RM530)
Many of these countries also discriminate between locals and foreigners.
Even meals at ordinary restaurants are much cheaper in Malaysia than in many countries.
Recently, I was on holiday in a neighbouring country and went to a restaurant with a friend for a meal which cost RM69. The same meal in a restaurant in Bangsar, which is considered to be an expensive area in Kuala Lumpur, would cost only around RM25.
The warmth and hospitality advertised by that country was a charade. In a country which prides itself on its smiling people, I was greeted with a stern look by the customs and immigration officers. At least our men and women in uniform at airports offer a smile.
During my visit to one tourist attraction, a sign showed that foreigners had to pay RM35 as entrance fee, while it was free for the locals. In Malaysia, we don’t treat our guests in such a manner.
English should be a selling point for our tourism promotion. Most people in Malaysia, even those who cannot communicate well, can at least understand the rudiments of the language. In many developed and developing countries, where English is not the national language, the majority of the population can hardly communicate with English-speaking tourists.
Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah have so many hidden treasures yet to be discovered. As a Malaysian, I too, have not visited many of these treasures.
The media can assume an important role in promoting domestic promotion, especially during school holidays. Tourism Malaysia should work together with the media to promote these tourist destinations.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen recently stated that there are around 12,000 foreigners residing in Malaysia under the Malaysia: My Second Home Programme. With the cost of living escalating in many European countries, Japan and the US, many of the nationals, especially retirees, from these countries would like to find an alternative place to reside in comfort. Malaysia would be the answer to their dilemma.
Tourism Malaysia must get cracking.
Source : TheSun
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