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KJ criticises Tourism Ministry for failing to capitalise on weakening ringgit to boost the sector

Publish date: Fri, 23 Feb 2024, 11:35 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism Ministry has been taken to task over the lack of planning by the side to take 'advantage' of the weakening ringgit to boost the country's tourism sector.

In the latest episode of the 'Keluar Sekejap' podcast which features him and former Umno information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan, Khairy said the tourism sectors would benefit the most in the situation.

"When our ringgit is weak, which sector can profit the most from a weak currency? Tourism. But, where is it (all the plans to boost the sector)? There was none," said Khairy.

"The 26 million tourists' arrival to the country was the fudge of statistics. They were daily travellers.

"Come on, we should not be focusing on China alone. There are many countries in the world," he said.

In December last year, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said Malaysia recorded 26 million tourist arrivals to the country from Jan 1 to Nov 15.

Based on the Immigration Department's statistics of tourist arrivals, Singaporeans head the list with 12,645,364 tourists, followed by Indonesia (3,166,295), Thailand (2,073,162), China (1,407,471), Brunei (904,841), and India (780,532) while the rest are from other countries.

"I have said on my Instagram that we want to make Malaysia Truly Asia again. (But) where is the tagline? Where is the campaign? Where is the slogan? Where are the events?

"Where are all those? This is the best time to attract people (tourists) to come to Malaysia when US$1 is almost RM5. You can have a great holiday in Malaysia.

"Unfortunately, there is no sense of urgency (to take advantage of the situation). Too relaxed."

Khairy also said that the ministry's ignorance of the situation is akin to ostriches that bury their heads in the sand.

"Hey, this is a serious time for serious people. Are you serious?" asked Khairy.

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