LETTER | During the launching ceremony of the 13th Matta Fair 2018 at City One Megamall in Kuching on Sept 7, state Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Lee Kim Shin read out stare Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s speech.
Travel industry players were urged to come up with more attractive and creative tour packages in order to grow and push the tourism industry towards greater heights.
The call reminded me of many similar ones that were repeated over the past decades, having been involved in the tourism industry since 1973.
Most inbound and domestic tour operators offer more or less similar tour packages as they prove to be most popular. However, a greater range of interesting tours is needed for visitors to come back for more and to attract tourists with special interests.
As it is their bread and butter, tour operators are always on the lookout to upgrade their existing tours or create new ones. While some may succeed, most are unable to think out of the box, lacking in knowledge, concepts, imagination or courage.
The most conducive way for tour operators to spawn and conceptualise new ideas is for them to participate in a forum where many speakers can present their theories to an audience.
It should be remembered that the craziest ideas could turn out to be a huge success for those who can make it work. In such brainstorming sessions, there are bound to be many spin-offs, such as sparking new ideas which might not be possible when thinking alone.
I started my tourism career as a tourist guide 45 years ago. At that time, there were daily sightseeing tours by coach and individual tourists were picked up from major hotels in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
These seat-in-coach (SIC) tours should be made available for all major tourist destinations. It means only two things if a city does not offer such affordable half-day or full-day sightseeing tours.
One, tourism in the city is still in its infancy and two, local tour operators are clueless in organising and offering such tours which unknown to them can attract many visitors.
In Sarawak, it is time for Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu to offer SIC tours but this will not happen without outside expertise.
This is because the locals, being all too familiar with what they have, can see nothing interesting whereas outsiders with a fresh pair of eyes will be captivated by anything that is uniquely local.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.