KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia ticks all the right boxes that German tourists go for including safety, stability and environmentally-rich surroundings.
The country should in fact be among the main tourism stop for Europeans too with the right strategy and promotions.
However, for that to happen, German Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff said Malaysia needed the right marketing plan so that it could boost visitor numbers from Germany and Europe to a new level on par with that of neighbouring Thailand.
He suggested Malaysia re-look the slogan “Malaysia Truly Asia”, which he feels had served its purpose.
“When it comes to attracting tourists, it helps if you have something special to offer.
“This is to help people identify Malaysia with something possibly you cannot find anywhere else.
“The slogan ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ is nice and it’s well known but now you need a new one. It helps that people hear something new rather than “Malaysia Truly Asia”.
Elaborating on Germans as travellers, Lambsdorff explained that his countrymen love to travel, have the money and time to do so and that is why one always finds German tourists all over the world at any given moment.
“I think the latest number of German tourists to Malaysia is close to 100,000. But, to me, that number (of German tourists) in general is not really sufficient.
“Malaysia should be able to attract more tourists, and not just Germans.”
In that sense, he hoped that Malaysia’s participation in this year’s ITB Berlin, the world’s biggest tourism trade fair, would put the country on the map, especially for German tourists.
Lambsdorff said, compared with Malaysia, Thailand had always been good at promoting and marketing to attract foreign tourists.
“If you ask people in Germany about Thailand, what comes to mind are the wide beaches, palm trees and warm weather.
“You would also say that you can find wide beaches, palm trees and warm weather in so many other countries like the Carribbean but in this region, people think of Thailand.
“Of course, Malaysia has trees and beaches and definitely the warm weather. But what is the difference between Malaysia and Thailand?
“You could name some differences and I could too but people in Germany and Europe hardly know. So there is a marketing aspect and Malaysia needs to sell it,” he said.
A recent report said that Tourism Malaysia was stepping up its promotions in preparation for Visit Malaysia 2020, a landmark campaign that is targeted to bring in 30 million international tourists and RM100 billion in tourist receipts to the country.
Meanwhile, Lambsdorff gave an assurance that Germany will continue to be strong in investing in Malaysia given the fact that his country is by far the biggest investor here among European Union members.
Source : New Straits Times