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Malaysian Tourism Comments Evoke a Response.

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Bali Update Edition #323's story "Aiding the Enemy" quoting Malaysia's Tourism Minister prompted a number of readers to write:

Margaret Hunter of of Rudi Steele Travel in the U.S.A wrote:

I realize that the US State Department wants to be sure its traveling citizens are adequately apprised of dangerous conditions around the world - but we would also need travel warnings against our own country, as dreadful things happen here as well.

An Australian travel wholesaler, Ken Coulter of Coulter Goodall Tours had the following comments:

I fully agree with the Malaysian Minister for Tourism regarding his comments on the travel advisories. I too feel that ASEAN member nations should unite in their response to the advisories. The vague travel advisories should not be issued unless it is known that there is a specific danger in traveling to an area or region. To give a travel advisory simply stating that tourists should take extra care at "airports and where people gather" is an absolute waste of time.

Although governments cannot be too specific the travel advisory should be issued only if a KNOWN problem exists in a region.

On a brighter note we have started to again received many many enquiries for ASEAN countries in the past 3 working days .... and for almost immediate travel, so we sincerely hope that we can now move forwards - peacefully - in tourism

Australian travel consultant and regular contributor to Andrew Sivijs had some rather more pointed comments for Malaysia's tourism boss:

Interesting that Dato is providing comments on other countries (read the west) travel advisories. Has he stopped to consider the damage being done by comments made by some in his own homeland? Mohammed Hatta Mohammed Ramli, a member of PAS (Islamic Party of Malaysia) central committee, has implied in recent Malaysian dailies that the US was involved in the Bali bombing, does not believe the Jemaah Islamiah group actually exists, and is not convinced Osama Bin Laden is the mastermind behind the 9/11 murders and is still alive.

On top of that, the Malaysian Prime Minister fervently 'heads off at the pass' any efforts by Australia to be a member country of ASEAN, takes every opportunity to Aussie bash, and questions our (Australia's) legitimate role in Asia.

(I) Wonder why Australians aren't in a rush to holiday in KL and parts of Indonesia. We're far too popular for our own good. The anti western, anti-Australian diatribe of the last decade from regional leaders is hitting home. Simple logic. If people do not feel safe, do not feel welcome and are exposed to regular slurs from political leaders in neighboring countries, we'll take our dollars elsewhere.

Malaysia and others will have to deal with the stigma for housing terrorist groups for so long. Not our fault. More action, less talk.

Forgive us for taking a second glance at a destination's 'mixed messages', particularly from their so called 'leaders'. We in the west are constantly reminded of 'Asian sensitivities'. Appears there is no reciprocity.

One cowardly Bali event has toughened our resolve. Not again

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