IPOH, May 24 — It is only his first week in office, but Perak’s newly-appointed tourism exco Tan Kar Hing already has plans to make big changes to the state’s tourism industry.
The Simpang Pulai assemblyman wants to shape up promotion of Perak’s numerous tourism attractions by revitalising its promotion efforts and improving some of its existing attractions.
Speaking to Malay Mail today, Tan said the state had an abundance of exciting tourism products, but noted that some had not been promoted or packaged well.
He stressed the importance of building narratives and storylines that would attract domestic and foreign tourists alike.
“There is a lack of integration in the promotion. For instance when someone visits Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, they should also be informed of the unique food nearby in Gopeng,” he said.
“They should get this information from advertisements there, but there isn’t enough information now. We need to have a proper integrated plan in place.
“And when it comes to heritage and cultural attractions, our problem is that we are promoting the surface. We need to build a story or a narrative.”
Tan added that he wanted to improve the social media aspect of promotion by bringing in a more youthful feel.
He plans to add more staff and consultants to boost the advertising and social media promotion, which is currently done by in-house designers.
However, the new exco stressed that he would also be implementing austerity measures by slashing unnecessary expenditures and overlaps in different departments.
“But I’ll only be cutting the unnecessary budget, not the staff,” he said with a smile.
Tan also wants to revitalise Ipoh’s iconic attractions like Concubine Lane and the Ipoh Railway Station.
Elaborating on the latter, Tan believes the task of bringing the station’s hotel back to life is achievable with approval from the federal government.
“It’s part of our heritage, and the railway station is one of Ipoh’s iconic landmarks. How can we abandon it? The state must do something.
“I believe we can definitely do something about it. I have to get the approval from the federal authorities but this is something I really want to look into.”
Tan’s plans will take some time, but he is already hard at work sifting through his new responsibilities.
Over the next one to two weeks, he will be familiarising himself with his portfolio and the numerous agencies.
“After that I also want to meet with the tourism stakeholders and associations to get their views on improving tourism in the state,” Tan said.