Poor branding, not language barrier, why Thais skipping Malaysia, says Kedah tourism group

ALOR STAR: The lack of a robust tourism branding campaign is the main reason why visitors from Thailand are not keen to travel to Malaysia and Kedah.

Kedah Tourist Guide Association president Mohd Firdaus Abu Bakar said blaming a language barrier for the lack of Thai visitors "seemed like an excuse".

"We need to consider that previous tourism campaigns, such as 'Malaysia Truly Asia' were highly successful, showcasing our uniqueness as a diverse country.

"The brand flourished then, but now, what's happening? Do we value our uniqueness and diversity? Let's reflect on what we're doing as hosts now," he told the NST today.

Firdaus was responding to Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor's claims that a language barrier was the main reason why most Thai travellers skipped Kedah and Malaysia.

Firdaus called for a more robust tourism campaign by the federal and state governments.

"If possible, the state government should collaborate with the federal government to promote Kedah," he added.

Sanusi said on Monday that about 4.8 million Malaysians travelled to Thailand annually, while only 1.3 million Thais entered Malaysia.

Firdaus highlighted other factors discouraging Thais from visiting Malaysia, including similarities in culture and climate, particularly for southern Thailand.

"Additionally, we lack international events that engaged Thais, coupled with strict immigration procedures at border crossings and tourist destinations are concentrated in the Klang Valley, which is too far from Thailand.

"Also, tourist spots in Kedah are not well-maintained, there's a lack of attractive tourism products or destinations and a shortage of licensed tourist guides proficient in Thai," he added.

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories