Let’s iron out the woes ahead of VMY 2007

THE tourism industry has become a massive revenue earner for many countries. For some, it is the number one source of government revenue.  In a world that’s “shrinking” with easier and faster modes of travelling, many people are willing to spend to see other parts of the world.

The direct and indirect benefits derived from focusing on this trade are immense, to say the least. The spin-offs are a major source of national and transnational investment, which help to a great extent in providing employment at all levels and keep several large and small industries ticking.

No one can deny that Visit Malaysia Year 2007 could not have been better timed, with it coinciding with the 50th National Day celebrations next year.

The Tourism Ministry has already started its push through our missions abroad and Tourism Malaysia offices in several parts of the world. We have spent millions of ringgit to announce to the world that we are ready for the influx. The target: about 20 million arrivals.

But the big question is: “Are all Malaysians ready to help make the visitors’ stay a pleasant experience so that they will carry happy tales to tell their relatives and friends back home?”

If you may recall, the first question you ask your friend or relative when they return from a trip abroad is “How’s the country? Did you enjoy your stay?”

Just like when we are overseas for a holiday, those who come here, especially budget travellers, want fairly clean hotels that are not over-priced. We do not want complaints of bug-infested bed and breakfast lodges with filthy toilets in the cities to be a subject of discussions over the Internet.

With five weeks left before 2007, the licensing and enforcement authorities have a task on their hands to flush out these dirty toilets.

And beware of zealots who, in the name of religion and morality, could chase potential tourists away.

Let us also make it easy and safe for tourists to travel here. The touts at the airports and unscrupulous cabbies must be taken off the road or we will pay dearly for this.

Some time ago, The Star reporters on an undercover assignment proved that some of them charge as high as RM400 for a trip to Kuala Lumpur from KLIA. Although action is being taken, such activities are still going on. It has to be instilled on everyone that VMY 2007 is not about making a fast buck. It’s about getting tourists to come back to Malaysia a second time, or even more.

The last thing anyone wants to experience during a holiday is being mugged or becoming a snatch theft victim.

In this regard, perhaps the police should have a special VMY 2007 team to ensure security is adequate in popular tourist destinations.

VMY 2007 is going to be a 12-month affair, so let us show the nicer side of ourselves. Our show of hospitality at all levels will determine where we stand in the eyes of the world. This will be the finer touch to the tangible achievements that we so proudly shout about.

Are you ready?

The Star,

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~ by anick on November 26, 2006.

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