Let's strive to be known as tourist friendly at all times

TOURISM is a volume game. A massive ecosystem drawing synergies from a variety of facilities are needed to ensure its vibrancy and sustainability.

Whether they are high-spending or on a budget, all tourists would enjoy when they could see and be happy with their personal choices.

Likewise, we have industry players catering to the different niche markets.

For accommodation, some prefer to offer five-star facilities, others budget or boutique hotels. For restaurants, they could be fine dining, fast or street foods, and together offer innumerable cuisines.

Tourists travel to see different places, people, buildings and sights, hear unfamiliar sounds and languages, experience exotic foods and smells, and touch things they would wish to buy.

They may do similar things within their groups but it would be boring if everyone else is the same as them.

So, what we need to do is to offer the greatest variety, and bear in mind that all tourists are good tourists.

We should not be doubting whether mass tourism or passengers travelling on budget flights or guests staying in budget hotels have the money to spend or would act responsibly wherever they go.

Also, we should not look down on backpackers. They do have the money to spend, except that they wish to stretch it longer and soak in the place.

If people in a small town or village could treat them with extra kindness, some could return later as big-time investors to pay back the folks.

Most backpackers have just completed their studies and wish to see the world before building their careers. They travel with their eyes and hearts wide open so as to graduate from the "university of life", and many would emerge as top corporate leaders within a decade or two.

Tourism is a long-term game, and many tourists usually make repeat visits.

Visiting friends and relatives in Malaysia was the main purpose for 21.4 per cent of all foreign tourists in 2015, 18.9 per cent (2016), 24.8 per cent (2017), 19.8 per cent (2018) and 25.5 per cent in the first half of 2019.

All tourists should be welcomed and all of Malaysia should be known as being tourist friendly.

Y.S. Chan
Kuala Lumpur
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