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Monday, April 12, 2010

Tourism ads not sending the right message

ALTHOUGH we are one of the eight cheapest countries to visit, Malaysia saw a 65.3% drop in tourist arrivals in 2010.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said this sharp drop should be taken seriously and urged the ministry and Tourism Malaysia to find the best solution to ensure Malaysia attracts the targeted number of tourists.

I believe our promotional activities need to be intensified and evaluated.

Something must be terribly wrong if Malaysia, which is among the cheapest tourists destinations in the world, sees a drastic fall in tourist arrivals.

It is really sad that we are targeting only 20 million tourists arrivals in 2010, compared with the 23.6 million arrivals last year. Shouldn’t our target be higher?

Perhaps, we are not sending the correct message to tourists. From the way I look at it, our advertisements are mundane and do not convey our positive attributes.

I personally think the advertisement, “Malaysia, Truly Asia” is out of date as it does not create a positive impact in attracting tourists.

I have yet to see any advertisement saying that Malaysia has among the cheapest hotel rates in the world.

Can we have an advertisement which says, “Do you know that Malaysia has among the cheapest hotel rates in the world? Check us out at ........”, or an advertisement for a tourist package that reads, “A five-day holiday in one of our exotic island resorts only costs US$1,500.”

As the minister correctly pointed out, it will not be an easy task, especially in a globalised era to woo tourists.

Without commitment, knowledge, skills and discipline, we may not reach our target.

We cannot depend on bureaucrats to do a professional job.

If necessary, we need to engage the right people with ideas and draw up strategies to ensure we reach our target.

What baffles me is that if travel blogs like Lonely Planet has placed Malaysia among the 10 countries tourists should visit, why are we not capitalising on these positive rankings to further promote the country.

Surely, this reputable blog would have done its homework to give Malaysia such a good ranking.

Are the ministry and Tourism Malaysia doing enough research in the field of tourism development to enhance Malaysia’s stature as one of the most exotic and cost-competitive tourist destinations in the world?

Malaysia has countless sights which can enchant and mesmerise anyone. Even a local like me has been enchanted by the spectacular beauty in several parts of the country.


Kuala Lumpur

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