|photo: MOTAC facebook|
This assurance comes from Tourism and Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general Dr Junaida Lee Abdullah.
She said the ministry, together with agriculture and agro-based industry ministry and the federal agricultural marketing authority (FAMA), was constantly monitoring the situation to ensure durian supply was from a known source or from selected orchards.
"The ministry is confident that durians offered to the public and tourists are of the best variety and do not contain anything that would taint the good reputation of our durians," she added. She was speaking to reporters after launching the Penang Homestay Durian Festival at the Penang National Park Sunday.
Dr Junaida said the festival, involving durian orchard owners and 10 homestay operators in Teluk Bahang and Balik Pulau would be held until June 21. It was aimed at selling 2,000 packages of four days, three-night stay.
The deputy secretary-general said, this time around, more than 18 varieties of the 'king of fruits' were being promoted, including Udang Merah, Hor Lor, Musang King, Gan Ja, Kun Poh, Duri Hitam and Landak.
"Last year, we succeeded in selling 1,700 packages through special flights from Hong Kong worth RM2.8 million, and durians sold through walk-ins amounted to RM313,000," she noted. Recently, reports of durians with artificial colouring went viral on the social media, allegedly in a neighbouring country.
Meanwhile, Dr Junaida was optimistic the tourism sector was not affected by the fall in value of the Malaysian Ringgit as such situation increased the purchasing power of tourists and served as a factor for them to visit this country and stay longer.
On the earthquake in Sabah, she said the ministry was carrying out a short-term strategy to attract tourists to Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak. She also urged major players in the industry such as tour guides to advise tourists on the customs and taboos of the local people for the sake of harmony.
"We always welcome tourists, but at the same time, hope they learn and respect local customs, and homestays such as this will hopefully provide opportunities for tourists to understand our customs," she said.