Malaysians unfazed by terrorism

Malaysians unfazed by terrorism
Petaling Street Night market in Kuala Lumpur
PHOTO: The Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian tourists are among those who are "least affected" by acts of terror when considering holiday destinations, said a senior Malaysian tourism official.

The official, who declined to be named, said the latest bombings in Manchester, Jakarta or Mindanao will only affect the decision of a tiny percentage of Malaysians.

"In the wake of these bombings, no doubt some Malaysians are jittery, but such fears will subside after a month, and everything will be normal again," said the official in charge of promoting Malaysia to the North American and European market.

He made the remarks while attending a back-to-back session hosted by travel agencies seeking to market Uzbekistan as a choice destination for Malaysians here yesterday.

The official also said that the tourism trade in the Asia-Pacific region is seeing tourist traffic growth of between eight to 10 per cent within this decade.

"We are less worried if anything major like terrorist attacks take place beyond the Asia Pacific region as it will have no impact at all on local travellers in the region.

"However, we would be particularly worried if such incidents happen within the ASEAN region," he added.

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the National Uzbekistan Company, Anvar P. Temirkhodjaev, said his country will also simplify it's visa application process to expedite the passage of Malaysians intending to visit this country that was once part of the Soviet Republic.

"Visa applications by groups of more than 10 people visiting Uzbekistan for more than five days will only cost RM61 (S$20) per person.

"For individuals, it will cost RM225, and we will lower the figure if the tourist traffic increases," he told reporters at the session attended by travel agencies from Malaysia and Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is a seven-hour flight away from Kuala Lumpur.

"I can assure Malaysians when they visit my country they will find it very interesting, that they will feel sad leaving it," said Anvar, who added 3,000 Malaysians visited Uzbekistan last year, while 10,000 Uzbeks visited Malaysia.

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