Saturday, April 23, 2011

What was the RM400 million spent on?


Corrupt Barisan Nasional - By Mariam Mokhtar
Deputy Tourism Minister Dr James Dawos Mamit told the Dewan Negara that between 2008 and 2010, Malaysia spent RM400 million on advertising to promote the tourism industry.
In 2008, he said, there were 22,052,488 foreign tourist arrivals, and the number increased by 7.2 per cent to 23,646,191, the following year.
“The number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia continued to increase by 3.9 per cent to 24,577,196 last year”.
James said that the impact of the advertising campaign was visible in the increase in the number of foreign tourist arrivals to the country.

And all the time, we were led to believe that Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen, who chalked up a hefty travel bill “promoting Malaysia” by going on a worldwide overseas travel spree, had contributed to the increased numbers of tourists.
Senator Mariany Mohammad Yit had asked about the volume of advertising expenses borne by the government to promote the country, and the number of tourist arrivals chalked between 2008 and last year.
Perhaps, James could provide us with a breakdown of the RM400 million spent as the amount seems an excessive amount, on advertising alone.
Whilst he is at it, he could also provide us with another breakdown of the tourist arrivals into Malaysia.
Will these include the frequent daily crossing of Singaporeans across the causeway, or the similar travel arrangements of our Thai neighbours nipping across the border visiting family?


Are Indonesian maids and other casual migrant workers included in the so-called tourist arrivals?
A further analysis of how the 25,000 000 people arrive in Malaysia would help to ascertain if the figures are not of casual day-trippers to the country at the border points.
Of interest is the Pacific Asia Travel Association which wrote last month that, the destinations of Southeast Asiareported a strong gain of ten per cent for the month, boosted by double-digit growth in international arrivals to Cambodia (+18%), Indonesia (+11%), Myanmar (+27%), the Philippines (+17%), Singapore (+16%), Thailand (+12%) and Vietnam (+22%).
However, growth in visitor arrivals to Malaysia remained sluggish with only a one per cent increase due largely to a small decline in arrivals from Southeast Asia, a sub-region that contributes more than 70% of total visitor arrivals to Malaysia.
Could James tell us why Malaysia recorded a sluggish growth at one percent increase, whilst the others had an increase in the double digit figures?
In February, Ng Yen Yen said, “Everybody was shocked that a country that has 28 million citizens attracted 23.6 million tourists. Our target for this year is 25 million tourists and we've got to work very hard. We want to develop in Malaysia a mindset where everybody must 'think tourism, act tourism”.
If that is the case, Yen Yen should educate the moral police to stop targeting luxury hotels for their khalwat raids, so as not to alarm the foreign tourists.
In early March, ‘The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011’ by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WER), said that price competitiveness in terms of availability of cheap exotic food, proved to be a double-edged sword as the standard of cleanliness left a negative impression upon foreign visitors to the country.
Malaysia also performed poorly in the areas of ‘environmental sustainability’ (ranked 64), 'tourism infrastructure' (74) and 'health and hygiene' (75).
Late last year, it was reported that Malaysia lost out to other health tourism destinations such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Bangkok and elsewhere in Asia despite its developed infrastructure for medical treatment and well-trained doctors.
Unsurprisingly, the deteriorating perception of crimes in Malaysia also resulted in the country being given a lower ranking after it was ranked 83 for ‘safety and security’.
We also performed poorly in the areas of 'environmental sustainability' (ranked 64), 'tourism infrastructure' (74) and 'health and hygiene' (75), said WER, which noted Malaysia's low availability of physicians.
So was any of the RRM400 million advertising money spent on improving the poorly performing areas?


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