If you watch CNN, BBC World or Travel and Living, every 30 minutes or so you will be interupted by the advertisement with beautiful visuals and accompanying audio, Malaysia truly Asia. You are expected to lift your butts, start saving, start planning or better still call a travel agent for advice, to spend your money in Malaysia, truly Asia. Malaysia, this lush tropical country is competing for your tourist dollar.
Is Malaysia a unique Asian Country? Yes it probably is. It has many unique features. Is it truly Asia? No, I do not think so. In my opinion, The Tourism Board of Malaysia tagline, Malaysia , truly asia, is an unattractive , unimaginative, negative, tagline.
It is like saying, Somalia, truly africa. Ghana, truly Africa. Only the uninitiated dumbos would generalise such a big continent like Asia or Africa. Only fools and those living in the old city of Istanbul would say ” I want to go to Asia”
You may stretch it a little further to Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine. Asia is just a 700m hop across the Bosphorous. You see unique asian features. The Chinese, Indian, Central Asian, Persian, Arabs features intermingle in a hotpot of cultures. No wonder, tourists from this part of the world are the minority.
To Many Brits, Asians means the people from the sub-continent. India was the jewel in the crown of Imperial Britain. So obviously Malaysia truly Asia, to them is like saying Bradford, truly asia.
To the South Americans, the Peruvian in particularly truly Asians means the japanese and the chinese. Having been ruled by Fujimori they are not interestred to know who the true asians are.
With many negativities about Asia, being true Asian means carrying the negative liabilities too. The Asian crisis, the Asian bird flu, the Asian haze, disunited, dirty asians, poor asians are some of the negative stereotyping and perceptions that are embedded in many european, american minds.
A tag line, differentiates. A tagline projects a pristine product. A tagline generates good feeling, positive perception. In marketing perception is reality. Unfortunately Malaysia truly asia does the opposite.
How about “Malaysia, tropical Asia”. It is about unspoilt pristine tropical jungles, tropical thunderstorms, tropical downpour, tropical beaches, Tropical fruits, tropical floras faunas, tropical cultures, tropical ethnic groups, tropical F1, the monsoon regatta. THose are the features which are uniquely Malaysia. It differentiates from the negativities that asia carries. Off course you need to do the needful to protect you from tropical deseases as you would always do as a traveller.
If Indonesia steals the tagline, bye bye Malaysia.