Monday, 28th April, 2003



More products to safeguard
tourism sector


Daily Express



PARIT BUNTAR: More products will be introduced to cushion the country's tourism industry from impacts caused by unexpected events like armed conflicts and spread of infectious diseases.

Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said the ministry had initiated aggressive and pro-active measures in dealing with such situations.

He said the invasion of Iraq and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak had badly hit the local tourism industry.

"Even though he invasion of Iraq had ended, what assurance do we get that such tragedies will not recur to safeguard our tourism sector and economy. The answer is no, 'he said.

Abdul Kadir said this in his speech at the opening of the Sungai Kerian National Water Festival 2003 by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, here Saturday evening.

The Raja Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Bainun and Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali were also present.

Abdul Kadir said the ministry would undertake any measures to ensure a continuous influx of foreign tourists to the country as the tourism industry was the second largest economic contributor, earning the country RM2.5 billion a month.

Abdul Kadir said the Iraqi conflict and SARS had also affected the tourism industry in other Asean nations and these countries too were taking steps to overcome the problem.

"To safeguard our tourism industry, we must look for other (new) alternatives like this Water Festival to enable us to be on par with our neighbours, "he said.

He said Malaysians should be aware that there were various tourist attractions, right from Perlis until Sabah, which can be exploited for the nation's interest.

Malaysia also had a unique advantage in having people and harmony, a decisive factor which could be used to draw the foreign tourist, he said.

Meanwhile Tajol Rosli, in his speech, said the state had received RM5 million allocation from the National Landscape Department for the phase two of THE Sungai Kerian landscaping project.

Among the infrastructures to be developed were a jetty, recreational centre and a "square" which can be used to stage various arts and cultural events, he said.

He said construction of the Sungai Kerian Esplanade, at the cost of RM3 million, had been completed last year.

Tajol Rosli also said the Kuala Gula brid sanctuary and Tasik Bukit Merah, Sungai Kerian in Kerian district had the potential to be turned into major tourism draws.
- Bernama.