Cleanliness or the lack of it, remains a thorn in the flesh which can adversely affect the country’s tourism industry, if not given serious attention by all relevant authorities.
Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen said about 300 complaints were received from international tourists, mostly on unsatisfactory level of cleanliness at food outlets, markets, toilets and hilly parks, including national parks.
“Tourist arrivals has dropped slightly because of the cleanliness problem. There are more dirty places than clean places,” she told reporters after handing over the new RM13.5 million Rantau Panjang market building here, today.
However, accurate statistics on tourist entry has not been obtained and the ministry was still waiting for reports from the related agencies, she said.
Foreign tourists might not be keen to visit Malaysia if the issue of cleanliness was not tackled seriously and would eventually result in a loss to the industry, she added.
Yen Yen said the government had launched numerous campaigns, including the Clean Malaysia, Beautiful Malaysia Campaign (Malaysia Bersih, Malaysia Indah), but the problem of cleanliness had not been fully solved.
“It reflects the attitude of the public who are still not bothered about cleanliness. We must take a leaf from the books of other countries like Singapore which stresses very much on the issue of cleanliness,” she said.
She said about one million foreign tourists entered Malaysia through three main entry points in Kelantan, last year. She hoped cleanliness would become a focal point for all authorities, especially at entry points.
Yen Yen also hoped the new market would attract more tourists to the tax free zone of Rantau Panjang which was well-known, especially to Thai tourists, for its wide variety of electrical and halal food products.
“All 370 traders at the old market will be relocated to the new market. Hopefully, the more comfortable place will attract more tourists to the area,” she said.