KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen yesterday urged the surging number of social media enthusiasts and bloggers to consider the solidarity and peace of the country while blogging on virtual sites, particularly about tourist attractions.
"In this day and age, people prefer to read from blogs first and listen to information that is spread by word of mouth about the best places to head to for vacations.
"In this regard, bloggers share a due responsibility to the country."
She said that a survey by a British agency revealed that people prefer to refer to blogs, which over the years, had established a stature of its own.
She added that the number of Internet users in the country had also increased from a mere 20,000 in 1995 to the current estimated 12 million.
Dr Ng said social media was now the game changer of the media industry and as such the ministry was also placing more emphasis on it.
"By 2015, we hope to engage 75 per cent of the community to social media to provide them an avenue to be apart of the cyber world and promote the various wonders that our country has to the world."
Dr Ng, who is also MCA vice-president, said the ministry had also embarked on a pilot project to draw those in the rural areas into the cyber world.
"We launched a project named the '21st Century Village' three months ago and have picked the Sungai Pasu settlement in Raub, Pahang, to experiment."
Dr Ng said the villagers in the area were provided with the necessary Internet tools, including Wi-fi facility, to allow them to blog about their village to the world.
"If the project receives good response, we will consider expanding it to other areas and we need the communities support to make it a reality."
Dr Ng was speaking to members of the media during a press conference here after launching the inaugural Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference and Awards 2012.
The event witnessed the convergence of over 430 prominent travel bloggers from around the world to participate in a two-day forum which ends today.