JOHOR BARU: The Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry has warned industry players of the consequences if they are greedy in their attempt to recoup the losses they suffered in the first five months of the year.
Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said he was aware that certain quarters in the industry would take advantage of the expected increase in tourist arrivals by profiteering.
He said the consequences would be in the form of lower arrivals than expected as tourists would shy away from places where tour operators and those in the business were known to take advantage.
“Fewer arrivals mean less business and when this happens, there is no way we can regain the losses we suffered.
“I’d like to remind all of us that the next six months is very important because it is the time and the opportunity to attract as many tourists as possible.
“We need to restore their confidence about spending their holidays here after the SARS “attack” and for that to happen, we don’t need profiteers,” he said after chairing the national tourism development committee meeting here yesterday.
The meeting, the third for the year, was attended by the executive councillors in charge of tourism and culture from all states and representatives from the private sector.
Abdul Kadir said tourist arrivals during the first five months of this year dropped by 27.2% due to the SARS episode and caused losses amounting to several millions of ringgit.
“So, our task now is to overcome the psychological fear (of SARS) and to achieve that, I have directed the exco and those in the industry to focus their efforts in attracting tourists.
“I stressed that in the meeting and they have all pledged to go the extra mile to regain the lost confidence,” he said.
Abdul Kadir said he had also directed all states’ Tourism Action Council to hold their meeting every week for the next two months to monitor the progress of their efforts.
“After that period, their meeting would be a twice-a-month affair,” he said, adding that previously, the councils held their meetings at their own convenience.