The annual floods in the country have the potential to become a “tourism attraction”, says former Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said that instead of crying over things that were clearly beyond our control, the country should seek opportunities by promoting “voluntourism”, or volunteer tourism instead.
“If you know it is coming, then start planning now.”
“Maybe we can have voluntary tourism where people come to the country to help us with the floods, and it is not about them coming here just to enjoy but for them to also learn,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Daily.
Nazri also explained that the opportunity could be a silver lining while the country was facing economic challenges by attracting foreign tourists to join volunteer programmes during natural disasters.
“When our currency falls, it’s time for us to promote tourism for the country because it is cheap for them.”
“The Singaporeans will come because they spend only one-third of their salary and to them, our five or six star hotels are just so cheap,” Nazri added.
He also referred to the annual floods in Kuala Krai, Kelantan and said, “The flood is like a festival. Every monsoon, we have a flood festival, and people will come.”
“Because now there is voluntourism, where foreigners come to do volunteer work and they pay (to buy tickets and so on),” he added.
While we are not sure whether he made the statement out of sarcasm, netizens were not taking it well and slammed him for promoting such an idea.
On Twitter, many said the government should instead work on preventing the natural disaster.
Sorry Sir but the floods have led to people suffering, losing thousands in losses. Nothing about this is fun and touristy. https://t.co/moH87YOJFc— Iskandar Putra 🇲🇾🏴 (@iskandarputra_) June 18, 2022
“Calling for visitors to ‘experience’ floods shows how much Malaysian leaders are not in touch without suffering being experienced on ground and how badly the floods reflect on quality of governance in Malaysia. Focus should be harnessing experience for solutions.” said a netizen.
“Did he not know that many lost their lives during the devastating floods hit? These people are out of touch and delusional. Time for normal citizens to get together and fight the rich and elitists! It’s not about race or religion, it’s about the poor and the rich!” said another netizen.
Between 17 and 19 December last year, around 18,858 people were evacuated from their homes to 64 temporary relief centres (PPS) after floods hit the Klang district, following continuous rain.
What do you think about Nazri’s statement? Share your thoughts!