Tuesday, 1st April, 2003


  Focus on tourism to counter effect of SARS, war
  MIRI:  Malaysia will focus on domestic tourism as part of measures to counter the impact of the United States led war on Iraq and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak on the country's tourism industry.

Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said Monday the ministry, with the cooperation of the relevant authorities, would go all out to promote the Homestay Programme as well as the Student Tourism Programme to encourage domestic tourism between the different states.

We are confident that if the domestic tourism sector is strong and resilient, Malaysia will be able to counter the impact of the outbreak and the Iraq war now affecting the influx of tourists from West and East Asia, " he told a media conference after chairing the Malaysia Tourism Development Committee Meeting, here.

He said Malaysia, which projected 15 million foreign tourists for this year, might be affected in terms of tourism revenue if the war was prolonged.

He said the respective state tourism taskforces had been requested to review their packages for the Student Tourism Programme to make them more affordable and attractive.

Malaysians, especially those from urban areas, were also encouraged to stay with rural families in the villages and longhouses under the Homestay Programme as part of efforts to foster national unity, he said.

He said that by providing homestay participants with a unique cultural experience and clean basic facilities, the programme also generated business for two-star resorts and below and other small operators - Bernama