KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Dissemination of positive information on social media about the situation in a disaster-stricken country can help boost the confidence of foreign tourists to visit the country.
A Tourism Malaysia spokesman said the speed and accuracy of the information shared will make it easier for tourists to know the latest situation of the country before going on holiday.
“A disaster will indeed have an impact on tourist arrivals. But in the present situation, with the advanced information technology, we see the ‘recovery period’ of events much faster because there are many sources of information,” he said when contacted by Bernama here.
However, he said information sharing should be implemented cautiously because it was feared that any negative information about the disaster would have an impact on tourist arrivals.
Tourism Malaysia’s crisis management committee also provides accurate and timely information to its offices abroad and tourism associations about the situation in the country so that tourists’ decision to visit Malaysia was not affected.
The decline in the presence of foreign tourists was expected to be accommodated by an increase in domestic tourist visits, because some public holidays were followed by weekends throughout the year, this would assist tourism activities in the country, he added. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture before this targeted the arrival of 29.4 million foreign tourists and a revenue of RM89 million through the ‘Malaysia Year of Festivals’ (MyFest) 2015 programme, which was the continuation of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president, Hamzah Rahmat, conceded that 2015 would be a very challenging year for Malaysia due to the floods, the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and MH17 which was shot down over Ukraine by irresponsible parties. However, he said to draw back tourists from China for example, there was a proposal to implement visa-free travel as was done by Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
“If given a choice, tourists would like to visit a country that waives visa fees and offers holiday packages similar to Malaysia in terms of the 3S (sea, sun, shopping),” he said.a