Malaysia aims to repair image
TOURISM MALAYSIA has announced its plan to repair the country’s image after an alarmingly high incidence of snatch thefts and robberies in major cities, with some leading to deaths. Official investigations have found that a majority of the crimes are committed by both legal and illegal foreigners. Explaining why cooperation with the foreign press is vital, Deputy Tourism Minister Zahid Hamidi said: “Although the negative reports have affected the country in some ways, the influx of tourists into the country has been on the rise. It is even better if there are no negative reports.”
The tourism chief added that Malaysia needs to provide the real picture on the matter which has been given wide coverage by certain media from several foreign countries. “We have done this with the media in several West Asia countries such as in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Tourism Malaysia has issued official statements so the media can report the truth,” Hamidi said.
Similar collaborations are also being undertaken in India and China through travel associations and television stations. In the meantime, Tourism Malaysia’s emphasis is placed on countries seen as the biggest contributors to arrival figures in the coming months. The minister also said, “ On the ground, we have stepped up collaboration with the authorities through our tourist police, general operations force, and non-governmental organizations who have made safety, both for locals and tourists, a major issue.”
Meanwhile, Mark Canning from the British High Commission at the recent opening of a new visa office said, “British tourists does not seem to be affected by the publicity on snatch thefts in Malaysia.”
Canning added: “There are street crimes everywhere in the world. The ones taking place in Malaysia are still very much under control. The High Commission continues to receive an influx of inquiries on holiday destinations in Malaysia.”
author: Y. Sulaiman
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