The Star - Response to James Gonzales 12 Apr - Tourism ads not sending the right message

Dear Editor,
Response to "Tourism ads not sending the right message"

With reference to the letter by Mr. James Gonzales, "Tourism ads not sending the right message" (The Star, 12 Apr), we appreciate the concerns and wish to clarify the matters raised.
The promotion of Malaysia as a tourist destination internationally is done in many ways, advertising is one of them. Other means of promoting Malaysia are conducted through sales missions to the tourist-generating countries, sales calls to tour agents overseas, seminars for front-liners of travel agencies, food and cultural events for the public, and participation in major travel shows and marts worldwide. Other than that, we also have an effective educational programme in which members of the international media, agents and corporate representatives are given a first-hand experience of Malaysia - the payoff for this investment is the media publicity, packages for Malaysia and international MICE events.

Each of these avenues provides an opportunity for us to address different audiences and promotes the various aspects of Malaysia as a tourist destination. Thus, while the master branding of Malaysia to general audiences is "Malaysia Truly Asia," we do stress on Malaysia's offers - value for money, affordability and diversity.

Since its inception a decade ago, "Malaysia Truly Asia" has done its bit in elevating Malaysia's image as a tourist destination overseas. It is still an effective brand and the testimony of the branding success is in the increase in arrivals of tourists as well as the increasing number of new international airlines flying into Malaysia. While "Malaysia Truly Asia" is the master brand that promotes Malaysia, tactical promotions are undertaken for specific target market segments.

Although Malaysia is among the cheapest tourist destinations in the world, we are wary of leveraging on it in our promotions due to the negative connotations associated with it - i.e. substandard services and quality. Therefore, we have been positioning Malaysia as a value-for-money destination - one that provides greater value and satisfaction for each tourist dollar. This has proven to be more effective and much well-received by various markets.

Thank you

Wan Zawawi Mohammed
Director of Communications & Publicity
Tourism Malaysia

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