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Published on : Thursday, February 4, 2016
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) President Datuk Hj Hamzah Rahmat is impressed with the recent introduction of a smartphone app “Destination Melaka” launched by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Harun as part of its continued efforts to further promote tourism for the state.
Hamzah said “Leaflets and brochures are old school. They are expensive to print, costly to distribute and disseminated to only a few. Many that are on display gather dust and those picked up are thrown away after a quick glance.”
“On the other hand, mobile apps can be downloaded in smartphones with huge amount of information that is organised for easy application. The contents can also be used for tourism promotion, as “Destination Melaka” had already generated interests as far flung as the Americas and Europe.”
“Visitors will be able to move around in Malacca on their own confidently, aided by the embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) without having to depend on the locals they meet for assistance. With information at their fingertips 24/7, it also makes the job of tourist guides redundant.”
“As such, it is grossly unfair to impose on tourists to pay for the service of a tourist guide they do not need or cannot afford. Under existing regulations, any tour bus or van used for sightseeing must have a tourist guide on board. Tour operators have been fined up to RM18,000 for failing to adhere to this ruling.”
“A group of visitors or family members travelling together have always reacted with a bad taste in the mouth when this antiquated regulation is explained to them, which they see as a protective measure to safeguard the livelihood of tourist guides but at their expense. Any fair-minded person would concur that the services of a tourist guide should be optional, and if tourists pay for the service of a tourist guide, the best available licensed guide should be offered.”
“Tourists will be satisfied if their time and money is well spent. Upon their return to the home country, they are the best ambassadors for the holiday destination as the smartphone app can also be used to recount their experiences and recommend to others.”
“Developing a smartphone app is the culmination of efforts in promoting tourism and a clear indicator that the destination has matured as an industry. Without it, a state having a “Visit Year” may amount to nothing more than just a proclamation.”
“Smartphone apps would determine the future of many businesses, especially those information-rich like tourism and transportation. The Malacca Government has recognised this and had taken the lead, which other states should emulate”, concluded Hamzah.