In one of my recent polls on 1Malaysia.com.my I asked which category of travel you enjoyed the most: international; throughout Southeast Asia; or, within Malaysia. Impressively, more than half of the 475 who participated in the poll voted for domestic travel.
Travel broadens the mind, as they say, and I believe that travel within Malaysia can certainly open one’s eyes to different cultures, realities and perspectives. To the overseas visitor, we offer an intriguing microcosm of Asia. For Malaysians, travel inside our borders offers exciting opportunities to discover more about their fellow citizens and absorb the beautiful diversity of our nation. Internal travel, in other words, offers Malaysians opportunities to learn from and understand each other in true 1Malaysia spirit.
The poll results are therefore pleasing, and I would encourage all my Malaysian readers to make every effort to visit another part of the country. Those who prefer to travel within Southeast Asia (10 per cent) or beyond the region (35 per cent) instead, please spread the good word about Malaysia and help dispel some of the myths held about us.
I would also like to extend my gratitude to our overseas visitors for choosing Malaysia, and to those in the tourism industry who have succeeded in making them feel welcome. Last year, visitor numbers rose to 23.65 million, resulting in Malaysia entering the United Nations World Tourism Organization‘s top 10 countries worldwide in tourist arrivals. Finishing ninth in 2009 is a remarkable and commendable achievement, but I believe that we must continue to work hard and more creatively to ensure that we stay in the top tier.
As for which I prefer, you probably know the answer to this: Malaysia, and walkabouts!