KUANTAN: 'This is Pahang' or 'Inilah Pahang' has been chosen as the state's new tourism theme, as part of a strategy to revive the industry after being badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

He said the new theme highlights the strength and uniqueness of Tok Gajah (as Pahang is fondly known) and its diverse tourism products, with each offering its own unique experience.

Pahang, being the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, has a wide variety of tourism attractions, from sandy beaches, stunning resort islands, forest reserves and highlands, to meet every tourist's preference, not to mention its unique culture and famous delicious traditional dishes.

"While 'This Is Pahang' (English version) sounds firm, the Malay version 'Inilah Pahang' evokes gentleness, reflecting the culture of the people of this state in greeting and welcoming tourists.

"The rebranding of Pahang tourism is expected to attract more tourists to help the affected industry players. The state government will also continue to strengthen the promotion and campaign of tourism products in Pahang," he told a press conference after launching the new theme at the main campus of University College of Yayasan Pahang (UCYP) here, today.

The launch was also attended by state Tourism, Culture, Environment, Plantation and Commodity Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin, Pahang Tourism general manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar and UCYP vice-chancellor Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Ahmad Zainuddin.

For the record, some of the previous themes were 'Pahang Simply Awesome', 'Hogoh Pahang', 'Panoramic Pahang', 'Come to Nature' and 'Premier Adventure Holidays and Nature Gateways'.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant drop in tourist arrivals, with statistics on the number of tourists to Pahang last year showing 7.43 million compared with 13.99 million in 2019, resulting in a loss of tourist spending of RM5.8 billion, said Wan Rosdy.

Wan Rosdy also described the launch of the new theme as timely, as Pahang is now placed under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), and the federal government has announced that a targeted travel bubble is allowed for the tourism sector to resume operations subject to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

"The year 2020 is seen as very challenging for the tourism sector, to serve as a wake up call to all parties to jointly revive the tourism industry. In the excitement of going on a vacation, I urge everyone to adhere to the SOPs so that we can stop the spread of new cases at tourist spots.

"We don't want to see many fall victim because of a few irresponsible folk who refuse to adhere to the SOPs. We hope that those who are found to have triggered the spread of new positive cases be issued with a maximum compound as a lesson," he said.