Putrajaya suspends Visit Malaysia campaign following MH370 disappearance
Mar 24, 2014: Chinese tourist arrivals in Malaysia have dropped since the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 saga, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told Parliament today, adding that Putrajaya has suspended its Visit Malaysia 2014 campaign.
Nazri said the ministry has shelved the campaign out of respect for the families of the 239 passengers and crew onboard the missing plane.
“The ministry has stopped the promotion tours, especially in China, until the aircraft is found,” he said.
More than half the passengers onboard MH370, which has been missing for 17 days, are Chinese nationals.
Nazri said it is impossible for the ministry to continue the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 promotion following the disappearance of MH370.
The ministry had planned to attract 28 million tourists to Malaysia this year.
Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar interjected, saying that the ministry should look from the “positive angle” to bring in tourists.
Mahfuz pointed out that Thailand still managed to attract visitors despite its internal political instability and street demonstrations.
He said the number of tourists in Thailand did not decrease, even with the demonstrations.
In his winding up speech, Nazri said the situation in Thailand and the MH370 incident are two separate things
While what happened in Thailand was caused by its own people, the disappearance of MH370 is a tragedy.
“I never said demonstrations are the cause of tourists not coming. Such a statement never came from me.
“There is a difference between what happened in Thailand and the MH370 incident. We cannot intensify our tourism promotion activities without feeling bad,” he said.
Nazri also said the families of the MH370 Chinese passengers are more sensitive about the tragedy.
“The Malaysian families are calmer, while the Chinese families are more emotional.
“We would not be sensitive to their situation if we proceed with our campaign,” he said.
MH370 was flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 when the aircraft dropped off the radar.
Search operations to locate the plane are still ongoing. There are still no conclusive results from the search efforts which involve 26 countries.
source: The Malaysia Insider
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