By Mariam Mokhtar
It is now mid-September 2011 and January 2012 is just around the corner. For those who are unaware, 2012 is Visit Perak Year. Some people may believe that Perak is geared up for this very important year but are they being realistic? How many people are aware that 2012 is Visit Perak Year?
Last July, the Ipoh Echo published a report which said that the calendar of events would be ready by September. Why have the authorities not engaged the general public to suggest ideas for events or venues? What do the Perakians know about the events planned for 2012? What has been the public’s participation in these?
How have the authorities presented the array of activities, venues or special exhibitions to showcase Perak to the whole world? The Ipoh Echo may be accessible locally and on-line but is this enough?
Who is the target audience for tourism Perak – the foreigners or local (Malaysian) tourists? Is the approach for each different?
Everyone knows that the preparation and the promotional events for the Olympics are started well in advance and sponsorship obtained years before the site is ready.
In the schools our children attend, the school diary is prepared a year, or two, in advance; the schools know what events should be included in the academic year and it has a rough idea of who it plans to invite to give talks to the students.
Ideas from the People
Perak is not short of people who have interesting ideas. Why is their creativity not being tapped? Why do we shy away from engaging the wider public to participate in an event which will ultimately benefit them?
Our youth know what is fun and would be enjoyed by their peers. Perhaps competitions to create advertising slogans could be organised in schools to tap these young minds. Perhaps the winning entrant could be rewarded with a package holiday for him and a friend at a 5-star resort of his choice, in Perak. This might be the chance to promote the 3D2N package that was mentioned in the July 16 issue of Ipoh Echo.
People flying by MAS into KLIA are normally treated to a tourism Malaysia promotional advert on the monitors, prior to landing. Why are they not told that it is Visit Perak Year in 2012? Where are the flyers, or to save costs, a notice on their screens to inform them about the event?
Why are Tourism Malaysia offices overseas not promoting Perak at all? Many people book their holidays well in advance. Can’t we at least tempt them now, so they can include Perak as a possible destination?
We have a brilliant, direct bus service between KLIA and Ipoh, which very few people know about. There should be billboards as we arrive at KLIA showcasing Perak and telling them that they can go direct to Perak on this bus service. KLIA has nothing to tell the traveller about Perak.
Why can’t the authorities have adverts promoting Perak painted on the outside of buses and coaches outside of Perak? It is those people outside the state we need to entice.
In the run-up to the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the London Underground printed a photo of the royal couple on the reverse of the Oyster tickets. Millions of people bought these tickets, which would otherwise be free, to keep as souvenirs of the event. Perhaps transit passengers, who land in KLIA, on their way to Australia and beyond, could be given transit boarding passes with Visit Perak on the reverse?
The most important preparation we should make is in-house. It has to do with cleanliness, hygiene and communication. There is little headway with filth and litter. Our streets are dirty and our drains support more plant growth than is found in some of our gardens. The smells from rotting food waste and the vermin that thrive on waste, lie beside some of our best food stalls. Where are the health inspectors and why is there a lack of enforcement?
If we are really serious about welcoming these visitors, we need to improve our cleanliness. Impose a heavy fine on those who litter indiscriminately and close down the establishments which continually break the rules. Perhaps the people in charge have different standards of hygiene or have a higher tolerance of filth.
As always, our local government seems to do things in fits and starts, it shows enthusiasm only when a minister or exco member shows interest. Communication and education within our community is poor. It is time we addressed this common failing.