The lure of jails and cemeteries

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 19 Jul 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: Even cemeteries and prisons can be promoted as tourist attractions if they are creatively packaged, says Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. 

He urged those in the tourism industry to be more creative in coming up with products, adding that there are seven travel companies offering special packages for foreigners to visit local Chinese cemeteries.  

He said “prison tourism” packages were doing well overseas.  

“These packages allow tourists to stay a few days in jail to experience the lifestyle of a prisoner. 

“Perhaps local agencies can emulate this idea,” he added. 

“They may also tie in their programmes with exhibitions of handicrafts made by the inmates,” he suggested when launching the Bukit Bintang Tourist and Business Guide 2005 here yesterday. 

Ahmad Zahid said the ministry was ready to support such innovative ideas.  

“We should make full use of existing landmarks and places to create something of value that benefits the tourism industry.” 

He said the ministry was confident of continued growth in tourist arrivals to Malaysia, provided no major disasters occurred.  

“Before the tsunami happened, we had an average of 1.2 million tourist arrivals per month. After the tsunami, the number still grew to about 1.35 million,” he said. 

The guidebook published by Dataran Optima Sdn Bhd gives detailed information on Bukit Bintang, with its recreational and business attractions. 

It is complemented by an online portal ( and an interactive text messaging information service. 

The guidebook will be distributed free to tourists and the public through Tourism Malaysia's offices worldwide, Malaysian embassies and high commissions overseas as well as major hotels, popular eateries and travel agents in Kuala Lumpur.  

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