Focus on tour safety, hygiene

  • Nation
  • Friday, 04 Jul 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The tourism industry in the region is emphasising safety and hygiene ahead of tourism products in the post-SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) campaigns to attract visitors. 

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) regional director (South and South-East Asia) David Leung said the Special Administrative Region of China recently launched a global recovery campaign costing some RM500mil to restore confidence that “Hong Kong is back to normal.” 

“My opening lines to promote tourism has changed to: Hong Kong is safe. We give utmost priority to hygiene and cleanliness, instead of saying it is an island full of greenery and excitement. 

“I then proceed to assure the audience that the island practises a health screening and disinfecting policy in airports, hotels and restaurants. 

“This is the impact of the SARS outbreak on tourism promotional strategies, whereby we have to reinforce the message that it is safe to travel,” he told a press conference at Mandarin Oriental Hotel here to announce a massive tourism campaign in Asean. 

However, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office regional director Rex Chang said the shift in focus of tourism campaigning would be short-term. 

Hong Kong, which was removed from the SARS-affected countries list by the World Health Organisation late last month, immediately went into reviving its badly-hit economy, which had its projected GDP growth this year reduced from 3% to 1.5%. 

When asked if competition in the region had become fiercer in the post-SARS era with countries such as Singapore and Malaysia launching massive campaigns to win tourists, Chang said: “Promotional events in the region now will do good for intra-region tourism and bring about mutual benefit to countries in the region. 

“Everyone is competing for a share of the pie of pre-SARS days and this is healthy competition,” he said. 

Malaysia recently introduced “Golden Holidays Great Getaways” to boost domestic tourism and eyes tourist arrivals from the West Asia and China markets.  

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