Perak’s plan to promote state tourism: Using its people as ambassadors

Perak's newly-appointed tourism exco Tan Kar Hing has big plans for the state’s tourism industry. — Picture by Marcus Pheong
Perak's newly-appointed tourism exco Tan Kar Hing has big plans for the state’s tourism industry. — Picture by Marcus Pheong

IPOH, June 25 — Why should you pay advertising companies to promote Perak when you can do that with its people?

At least that is the plan by state tourism, culture and arts committee chairman Tan Kar Hing, who wishes to make Perak citizens its ambassadors.

“Social media shares are more effective than billboards,” he said.

Speaking to Malay Mail when met at his office at the State Secretariat building here, Tan lamented that Perak currently suffers from a lack of identity which makes promotion difficult.

“There is no denying that food is the main draw in Perak, but how many return visitors can you get just from food?” he asked.

Perak Tourism, said Tan, hoped to improve on the average two-day stay by visitors to the state.

“To achieve that, we will need to come up with better products,” he said.

Tan said he would be asking assemblymen to propose places of interest in their constituencies.

“Now the problem is the respective industry players are doing their own thing and promoting their industry in silo,” he claimed.

Tan said after he was appointed to his portfolio, he was briefed on the tourism products available in the state.

“I was surprised there are only that many products, when in actual fact, there are more,” the Simpang Pulai assemblyman said.

“Hence, I am roping in the assemblymen and people to propose places of interest in their respective areas.”

“Once the fundamentals have been determined, we will get tour guides in and check with them whether a particular route is feasible,” he added.

He said currently, 95 per cent of visitors to Perak were Malaysians who came for the food.

“Of the 5 per cent foreign tourists who visit us, the majority of them are Singaporeans due to the availability of direct flights from the city-state to Ipoh,” he said.

Tan hoped the statistics can be further improved upon once cluster tourism is implemented.

He also said he would ask the assemblymen to go to the ground, beginning end June.

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