LEISURE Guide Publishing Sdn Bhd managing director Regina Fabiny is passionate about promoting Malaysia as a leading tourist destination, even more so than most of us who were born and bred in this country.
That passion has led German-born Fabiny, who has been residing in the country for 20 years, to publish The Guide To Malaysia in January 1999.
The book has been translated into Arabic, French, German and Mandarin. Fabiny said the company might translate the book into other languages like Russian, Korean and Japanese if there were demand.
Not stopping at that, she is now working on her next project, The Guide to Melaka. “We are keen to do the same for other states too, as a series of guidebooks would enable Malaysia to be better promoted. It can then showcase the diversity of Malaysia,” she said.
Fabiny said while other guidebooks focused mainly on travel information, scenic beauty and history, The Guide To Malaysia also focused on the Malaysian business aspect.
“Our book is divided into sections and each interested party can evaluate the respective section for the purpose of business or pleasure. It is also visually driven and easy to comprehend,” she said, adding that no fee was charged for any information incorporated into the book.
She said business tourism was becoming more important, as it was easier to woo businessmen to a certain destination with good business opportunities than to woo a tourist looking for a holiday destination.
“Not all places have good business opportunities like Malaysia but many are good holiday destinations, so competition is keener in that area. Business tourism is an important area as businessmen tend to have more money to spend,” she said.
Fabiny said that by using The Guide to Malaysia as a corporate calling card, the business sector could help promote the country and support the local tourism industry.
“This book is a testimony of the country's progress, and giving it to international clients or associates would encourage travel to Malaysia,” she said.
Fabiny said the books could even be customised for companies wanting to have their corporate information as a special insert. “If everyone in the business world does his part, there would be an explosion of awareness for Malaysia and the local tourism industry, thus creating a great impact on the economy,” she said, adding that this would help Malaysia catch up with other countries, which were more popular tourist destinations.
Fabiny noted that there were many other ways to promote Malaysia via The Guide to Malaysia. One would be for foreign agents to use the book as a tool to sell their tour packages to the country.
Director Tunku Maziah Mukhtar said Malaysian students overseas could help promote the book in their countries of study by taking a few copies with them, and international students here could send a copy each back to their homelands.
“In fact, Malaysian organisations and associations overseas should have copies of the book at their premises,” she said, adding that the book could be used as a reference by tourism schools to educate their students on Malaysia.
Currently, the guidebook is distributed via airports, selected hotels, British India outlets, Menara Kuala Lumpur, bookshops like MPH, Malaysian missions overseas and some foreign travel agents.
Fabiny said response to the book had been excellent and it had been distributed at various events, including the Organisation of Islamic Conference meeting, Commonwealth Tourism Ministers' Conference and Asean Media Summit.