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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	: 	THE PUTRA WORLD TRADE CENTRE IN 
			KUALA LUMPUR 
Tarikh/Date 	:	14/04/86 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE PATA 




The Honourable Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Minister of Trade and Industry,
and Chairman of PATA '86; Mr. Alwin Zecha, President of
PATA; Distinguished members of the PATA Board of Directors; Distinguished
members of PATA; Distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to be here to open this conference. We in
Malaysia have been preparing for this event for a long time as this
Conference means a great deal to us. It is with pleasure therefore that I
bid you all a very warm 'Selamat Datang'. The last time we hosted the PATA
Conference was in 1972 and the past fourteen years have seen a lot of
changes and improvements in our tourism facilities. I trust that while you
are here you will be able to sample the improvements that have been made.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

2. As members of the international travel and tourism industry, I am sure
you are all fully aware of the state of the industry worldwide. In the
past few years, the global economic picture has become very different from
what it used to be a decade ago. Where once straight-forward trade and
manufacturing dominated, now tourism has created a powerful niche for
itself, particularly in Asia. Tourism now generates business to the tune
of US$100 billion yearly; and it is growing by leaps and bounds.

3. These are facts that are hardly known outside the industry. In 1984,
300 million people travelled world-wide. The cost of travel has gone down
tremendously. The rise in fuel costs spawned a new generation of
fuel-efficient aircraft which will now benefit further from the fall in
fuel prices. The chances are that even greater growth will be seen in the
travel industry in the near future.

4. Of course if the people in the industry and Governments make travel
really hassle free, there will be such a tremendous boost that the peoples
of the world will literally be next-door neighbours. Knowing each other
and and the different countries is important for then we will have a
better perspective when we read of some happenings in a particular
country. It is our inability to think of other countries as being just
like our country, and other people being just as human as ourselves that
has made us prejudiced and suspicious and biased when thinking of other
people and countries. This better perspective cannot but make us better
judges of the frailties of our fellow men and accommodate them.

5. There are, however, many people who wish only to see the negative
aspects of tourism. They say that tourism will lead to the progressive
erosion of cultures and values and the way of life. How wonderful say
these people, to leave the natives in their natural habitat, unspoilt by
camera-totting tourists and their money.

6. We agree that nothing is more beautiful than to see a full-moon shining
on an attap hut with swaying coconut trees. But for the man who at that
very moment is sweating and swatting mosquitoes and trying to sleep, the
beauty of the scene is lost. He would rather have a brick and mortar
terrace house, electricity and piped water and other modern
conveniences. And these he will have a chance to have if he can earn
something from tourism or at least when the country is enriched by
tourism.

7. The culture can be preserved. So can the hut and the moonlight and the
swaying palms if the tourists want to see these. But a whole nation cannot
be expected to expose themselves to mosquito bites and be deprived of a
decent life merely because someone is concerned that we should not spoil
their way of life. Preserving the stone age will no doubt make parts of
this world picturesque and interesting but that is a heavy price for these
people to pay simply because we want to see the picturesque and the
interesting. Let us stop worrying too much about the loss of cultures and
values. Malaysia, for example, knows fully well that once it loses its
special character the tourists will cease to come. We also know we can
retain our character without need to suffer mosquito bites and rickety
huts.

8. Tourism is not 100% good, of course. Bad values and ways of life do
spread as more people are able to travel. There is always a price to
pay. Nothing in this world is free. But the benefits tourism brings to
poor countries far outweighs the negative aspects of tourism. A country
must know how to minimise the deleterious effects of tourism. If the
country needs advise on how to do this, such advise can be given. But no
country should be protected from tourists by well-intentioned groups
unless some alternatives that can contribute towards development can be
given.

9. Today, the tourist industry has reached a high level of
sophistication. It is possible for anyone to travel to almost any part of
the globe in comfort and style. In the process much benefit is spread
among a vast segment of the peoples of the world. The souvenir peddlar
benefits no less than the five-star hotelier. And all are highly efficient
in the provision of their particular kind of service.

10. We have come a long way from the family guest-house where the
land-lord shares breakfast with his irregular guest. Now high technology
has found its way into the industry. Not only can we travel faster, but we
can reserve rooms world-wide instantly and a piece of plastic can pay for
almost everything everywhere. Still we cannot replace the human
element. When we travel, it is not the hotel computer system that we
remember. It is the people that we meet, their kindness and the
hospitality shown us, their guests that leave a lasting impression. Even
if the only people we meet are the hotel staff or the ticketing agents,
these people can make or break our trip. It is important therefore that
this human element be nurtured and trained in the art of interacting with
people. Indeed, there is everything to be gained from the hospitality
extended to guests. The particular society can actually be more congenial
and progressive.

11. Of course, in hard economic terms, tourism has its role too. In these
times of recession, many countries including Malaysia look towards tourism
to take up the slack following upon the fall in commodity prices. As
Malaysians do a lot of foreign travelling, we have to have more incoming
tourist to balance the trade.

12. However, tourism is not the overnight answer to any country's economic
woes. Like many other industries, tourism requires planning and
investment, and supportive Government policies. Tourists will not come
just because you want them to.

13. For the Government mere encouragement for the tourist industry is not
enough. No one will visit a country that is unstable or unsafe. Nor will
they go to countries where nothing works, where bureaucratic red-tape
entangle travellers or where officials unnecessarily intrude into
activities which are no concern of theirs. Governments must therefore
assure political stability and a minimum of regulation for visitors.

14. If these preconditions are met then there is still the question of
marketing. No matter how beautiful a country is, without good marketing,
nobody will come. Marketing provides international awareness of a country
and assuming that this awareness is positive, tourists will want to visit
it. Marketing involves everyone; the Government, the tourist industry
people and the media. The first two may try very hard because they have a
vested interest. But an insensitive media may negate all their efforts. It
is important therefore that the media, both national and international,
report fairly and without exaggeration the incidents that no country can
be free from. Indeed, they should help promote tourism for if the
countries prosper through tourism, the media will also prosper.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

15. I have followed the development of the tourism industry with great
interest. I have found that, though the industry is an arena where several
forces interplay, it is essentially a business of moving large numbers of
people over vast distances conveniently and cheaply. Only air
transportation can achieve this. While we do not believe in total
deregulation which bankrupts airlines neither can we accept extortionate
price fixing through cartels. What we need is fair competition which
apportions to travellers a reasonable benefit from any savings not from
the airlines own special efforts.

16. Taking all relevant factors into account, and in line with the
Malaysian Government policy to accelerate the growth of the tourism
industry, I am pleased to make the following announcements.

17. Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu will be developed as gateways
for international visitors to this country. From these points facilities
will be provided for the foreign tourists to visit places of interest that
are found in various parts of Malaysia.

18. On the occasion of PATA 1986, I am happy to announce that the
Malaysian Airline System or MAS will introduce special fare schemes for
the promotion of tourism within Malaysia. International passengers
visiting Malaysia by air using Kuala Lumpur or Penang as gateways, may fly
to one other intermediate point in Peninsular Malaysia at no extra cost,
or visit Kota Kinabalu, Labuan or Kuching at 50% discount in
airfare. Similarly, passengers using Kota Kinabalu as gateway may fly to
one other intermediate point in Sabah, Labuan or Sarawak at no extra cost
or visit Kuala Lumpur or Johore Bahru at 50% discount in airfare. For
travel on any additional sector, a 25% discount is given.

19. The second scheme offers individual passengers from regional points
and domestic passengers travelling in groups of three on all domestic
sectors a 25% discount in airfare. It is hoped that the introduction of
these special fares by MAS will further generate tourism in the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

20. I believe in recent years, the level of awareness of the Pacific area
as a tourist destination has grown steadily. Where once, people were only
aware of certain parts of the region, and then not always for the best of
reasons, nowadays more and more West Pacific countries are are gaining
exposure and attracting tourists. I understand that the Pacific Area
Travel Association has contributed a great deal towards this growing
awareness. The Association has worked hard to bring tourists to this
region from the United States and from Europe. This has contributed
towards the development not only of the tourism industry in these Pacific
countries, but also towards their overall economic development as well.

21. The Pacific basin is an area of high potential and the 21st century
should see it displacing the Atlantic region as the most economically
advanced region of the world. Already many South East Asian countries are
growing by leaps and bounds. But as their economies progress they will
have to avoid the mistakes of western countries. They will not allow their
natural beauty to be destroyed. Thus they will remain attractive to
tourists.

22. Malaysia which has lately suffered from acute falls in commodity
prices, is looking towards tourism to pick up the slack. The tourist
industry here has grown very rapidly even without full Government help and
inadequate facilities. Both have been remedied. The Government is backing
the tourist trade strongly and is willing to listen to the ideas and
appeals from those in the trade. Facilities too have been enhanced. It
will require a long stay indeed for anyone wishing to experience all the
unique things in Malaysia.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

23. We have made a very special effort for this PATA Conference as no
doubt you will discover. One result of this effort is the Turtle
logo. Normally you can see the leather-back turtle only on certain
stretches of our 600 kilometres sandy east coast beaches at 3 o'clock in
the morning. Now you will see them everywhere. You will also notice that
Malaysian turtles now wear dark sun glasses. These are gifts from the TDC
to the turtles. As turtles only lay eggs at night, it is hoped that they
will be tricked by the dark-glasses into laying eggs in the day time for
the tourists.

24. Before I end, I would like to wish you a pleasant Conference and stay
in Malaysia. After the Conference ends, you will be able to see our
country with the Post-Conference Tours that have been arranged for you. I
hope you will take this opportunity to see for yourselves the real
Malaysia which brochures and audio-visual shows cannot do justice to.

25. Once again I wish you Selamat Datang to Malaysia and a fruitful
Conference and with this, I hereby officially declare the 35th Annual
Conference of the Pacific Area Travel Association open.

Thank you
 
 



 
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