Friday, February 24, 2006

Clearing negative image of Malaysia for Chinese tourists

By Magdalene Rogers

KUCHING - A group of some 100 Chinese media personnel and 20 representatives from Southern Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines were invited to the country to "rebuild the tourism image of Malaysia, after a series of negative publicity" last year.

The group, divided into splinter groups, were then flown to every states nationwide and 25 flew to Sarawak on Monday for a two-day stay here. They arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 17 and would be flying back to China on Feb 26.

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) executive marketing officer Catherine Lau said that the tourism industry's aim - apart from the prompt public relations taken to remedy the bad press that arose from the alleged police ill treatment given to a Chinese woman who later turned out to be a Malaysian - was also to lure the Chinese airlines to fly direct to Sarawak.

"Our aim is very importantly to have, at least, one direct flight (from China) coming to Sarawak. We want to showcase to them that Malaysia, and in particular, Sarawak, is a harmonious place with plenty of tourist attractions," she said.

Lau, who is in charge of STB's marketing in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Middle East and Taiwan, said according to statistics, the tourist arrivals from China has also increased with 7,000 more Chinese visiting Sarawak last year compared to 2004.

The 25-media group, meanwhile, was brought to various place of interests in the city, including a media dinner to meet and mingle with the local press here on Tuesday.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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