Sunday January 19, 2014
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Devotees gather in Batu Caves during the Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur January 17, 2014. UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said Malaysia was able to leverage its cultural and ethnic diversity into a tourism product that was unique and interesting. — Picture by Saw Siow FengDevotees gather in Batu Caves during the Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur January 17, 2014. UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said Malaysia was able to leverage its cultural and ethnic diversity into a tourism product that was unique and interesting. — Picture by Saw Siow FengKUCHING, Jan 19 — Malaysia’s efforts in promoting its tourism industry have not gone unnoticed, with a United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO) official describing the country as a “champion” in terms of tourism marketing and promotion.

UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said in this regard, Malaysia — among the most visited countries in the world — had so much to teach other countries in this region and beyond.

He pointed out how Malaysia was able to leverage its cultural and ethnic diversity into a tourism product that was unique and interesting.

“Malaysia is a wonderful example how tourism can bring a nation together and unite them under the 1Malaysia spirit,” he told the media on the sidelines of the Asean Tourism Forum 2014 here.

Rifai said welcoming 25 million tourists in 2012 was an achievement that Malaysia could be proud of, because it not only showed a successful tourism marketing campaign but was also reflective of the level of peace and stability in the country.

He said peace and stability were not only important to the tourism industry but were essential ingredients in achieving economic and social development.

The reverse was also true, he said, noting that job creation and income generation stemming from tourism could contribute to peace. 

Rifai said the UN agency had developed a risk and crisis management programme, particularly in the area of communication, to equip tourism officials with the means to deal with dire situations affecting any particular country. — Bernama

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