(Pic by Flydime / Flickr)
PLANNING a weekend holiday recently caused me to correspond with a travel agency. (The agency shall remain nameless, just in case.) At their request, I sent my bank details to them via the antiquated method of facsimile.
When their faxed reply came in, I found myself reading a Ministry of Travel and Holidays internal document instead of the travel agency’s Economy Spa and Holiday package. They must have realised their error around the same time, because page two was abruptly cut off half-way.
How they got hold of this document is anyone’s guess. It is reproduced below:
Ministry of Travel and Holidays
Hues of Malaysia March 2009 Sub-Campaign: BUDGET DESTINATIONS MALAYSIA
(Summary of proposal prepared by Causeway Communications Pte Ltd for Information Management Division, MOTH) (CORRECTED 16/3/2009)
Part 1: Concept
As a way to accommodate the current economic difficulty, and in line with the Hues of Malaysia campaign’s goal to encourage domestic tourism, it is proposed that an online information campaign about budget destinations within the country be carried out, beginning March 2009, with the option of extension to a year-long campaign (subject to budget / Minister’s favour).
Name: BUDGET DESTINATIONS MALAYSIA
1. To demonstrate that there are notable, exciting and affordable destinations within Malaysia that will interest ordinary Malaysians.
2. To promote affordable deals and holiday packages by destination stakeholders and lodging operators friendly to the Ministry.
For its pilot phase, the campaign will target three core groups:
A. Families with schooling-age children. As Malaysian public school students will be on their First Term Break (14-22 March), it is expected that travel among the demographic will see a marked increase during this period.
B. Budget travellers. Due to the economic downturn, market analysts predict that potential tourists will be scaling back their expenditure. As such, the bulk of Malaysian holidaymakers will likely be reluctant to spend beyond the RM800 per pax scale, with most falling between the RM200 – RM400 per pax bracket.
C. “Danger Tourism” enthusiasts. The 2008 Long & Brown Survey suggests that a growing number of Malaysians belongs to this group. Partly due to political developments such as the November 2007 Bersih rally and the March 2008 general elections, more Malaysians are willing to brave political and social instability to visit points of cultural and socio-political interest.
1. Website. Updated every other day, with blog-style entries. Each entry will run 200 – 300 words, briefly describing a particular destination. Photos may be drawn from other popular tourist sites, as a cost-cutting measure.
2. Series of 3-minute television adverts. To be directed by Yasmin Ahmad. Featuring notable Malaysian personalities (subject to budget constraints / Akademi Fantasia popularity).
Part 2: List of Proposed Destinations.
The following is a list of proposed destinations for BUDGET DESTINATIONS MALAYSIA. This list will list only new destinations we request be added to the official ministry roster, as part of the new campaign.
Destinations in East Malaysia are to be ignored for this campaign, as travel to the colonies alone will exceed the tourist expenditure bracket noted above.
1. Parlimen Malaysia
Since Malaysians appear to have a new-found interest in politics, Parliament is an obvious candidate for holidaymakers of the Type A (families with kids) and Type C (“Danger Tourists”) varieties. Educational and action-packed. Suggest joint effort with Parliament administration to come up with ticket pricing scheme and special passes to circumvent tightened security measures.
Possible promotion: Free face-time with opposition members of parliament (MPs) from card-carrying Umno Youth members?
2. Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC)
While the ministry is not unfamiliar with PWTC, it has rarely been considered a successful tourist destination, due to lackluster and badly-executed programming. An opportunity for revitalisation presents itself in March. The Umno General Assembly will attract Type B (budget) tourists, simply for the possibility that there might be pocket money to be earned by hanging around delegates.
Possible promotion: Lucky draw, officiated by Umno deputy president candidate Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam? (CORRECTION: Ali Rustam no longer candidate! Recommend Khairy Jamaluddin instead.)
3. Puncak Alam Forest Reserve, Shah Alam
The natural environs of the Puncak Alam forest reserve are suitable for eco-tourism – programmes at this location may emphasise Malaysia’s efforts at conservation and sustainability; may reference the nearby Subang Dam. It is also a destination of recent historical significance. MOTH should check with the Home Ministry regarding this location’s status re: genetic material. Will attract Type A and Type C tourists.
Possible promotion: Virtual tour series, conducted by Malaysian personality? (CORRECTION: Opportunity for reduced rates for Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo following suspension!)
4. Perak State Secretariat, Perak
Due to the recent interest in the state of Perak’s political matters, government buildings such as the state secretariat will be excellent points of interest to prepare for tourism. Will attract Type A (families with kids) and Type B (budget) tourists; appeal to Type C (“Danger Tourists”) depends on the continued machinations of Barisan Nasional vs Pakatan Rakyat. This particular location has enormous current and future potential, as the growth of the so-called Transparency, Justice, Integrity, Trustworthiness and Welfare saplings provide opportunity for Up Series-like living-history campaigns every few years.
5. Late Datuk Zakaria Md Deros’s residence, Port Klang
Zedeck Siew has actually seen Zakaria’s residence. Unfortunately, the visit was brief and did not include a tour of the estate.