Asia Minute: Malaysia’s New Tourism Logo Sparks Complaints

Jan 31, 2018

Credit Malaysia Tourism

Tourism is not only the center of Hawai‘i’s economy, it’s a growing part of the global economy. And while countries are figuring out the best ways to market themselves to visitors, one Asian country is coming under criticism for its latest efforts. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Malaysia has ambitious goals for tourism. The country wants to attract 33 million visitors this year—which would represent another year of moderate growth. By the year 2020, the target is to draw 8 million tourists a year from China alone.

So as with other tourism campaigns, there are slogans and logos.

The newest versions were released at the end of last week and the reaction hasn’t been entirely positive.

The tagline is simple and not controversial – “Visit Malaysia: Travel. Enjoy. Respect.”

But the multicolored logo is something else.

It features a smiling orangutan wearing sunglasses, along with a turtle wearing sunglasses, and a palm tree…and the skyscraping Petronas Towers.

But critics say it’s a jumble—a retro look, too many colors, and different font styles—calling it “hideous” and “cheap looking.”

It was done in house at the Tourism Ministry and the Tourism Minister defends the work.

The New Strait Times says he told reporters —“on why these animals were wearing sunglasses, it is to show that Malaysia is a sunny country with beautiful beaches and that we are into conservation of the environment.”

An online petition calling for a new logo has about 8,000 signatures and counting.