Hj Hamzah Rahmat
THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hj Hamzah Rahmat has refuted suggestions that crime and a conservative image are hurting Malaysian tourism, according to a MATTA statement released yesterday.
The points were levied by Bert van Walbeek, a speaker at the Global Tourism Cities Conference 2016 organised by the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Association.
Hamzah said: “The Bangkok-based expatriate is experienced in the hotel and MICE business but was quoting from a website which sourced an article from another website ranking the most dangerous cities in Asia based on input by visitors to the website and software to crunch numbers. It was not produced from official statistics or comprehensive studies.”
Walbeek, who is managing director of consultancy The Winning Edge, was reported to have said: “I don’t see you, as tourism destinations, answer that perception and try to change that perception. Most of you have not even noticed these websites.”
Hamzah insists that “isolated cases of a few tourists falling victims to crime does not make a city among the most dangerous in Asia”.
He said that safety is “relative to the measures taken by individuals as no place on earth can be totally safe”.
“In any city, (being) dressed to the hilt and standing by the roadside for a long time will run the risk of being mugged or rolled over by a passing vehicle,” added Hamzah.
Regarding Malaysia’s perceived conservative image, he pointed out that a licence is not required to sell beer in Malaysia, and is readily available at sundry and coffee shops.
“Those fancying swanky establishments can head to TREC Lifestyle and Entertainment Hub at Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur, which is a designated entertainment zone boasting 77 units of lifestyle and food and beverage outlets, including the largest club in Asia, Zouk,” said Hamzah.
He concludes: “The fact is Kuala Lumpur is one of the most popular and safest cities. Thanks to common knowledge and word-of-mouth, 12 million foreign visitors are expected to visit the city this year.
“The last thing we need is to adopt a siege mentality and go on a defensive to counter perceived threats. Such self-fulfilling prophecies would pose a greater danger.”