Sinjoro Eng asks, ‘Why not advance Malaysian tourism with Esperanto?’
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) adopted a manifesto of ecology travelling, which includes the ecology of language. However, the 1980 Manila Manifesto was not received with open arms in many countries around the world.
Nevertheless, Esperanto tourism does not stop there. In fact, it is getting more and more support from the people who feel the need for an easy learning international language.
In our ASEAN region, Cambodia has a head start in the Esperanto field of tourism. The other vibrant Esperanto movement in ASEAN in Indonesia also does not exclude Esperanto speakers, as their Foreign Ministry is the first in the world to include Esperanto as a language used by young diplomats.
Would the local tourism sector, including the Malaysia Tourism Board look into the dollars and cents ofEsperanto speakers? Although Malaysia was not included in the United Nations World Toursim Organisation membership list from 1987 till she rejoined in 1991, the Manila Manifesto was certainly used in the considerations of the Ministry of Tourism.
Many people still refuse to accept the decline of English language in the world, and would rather speak hybrid languages like Manglish and Singlish. They feel a sense of superiority, not knowing that the mat salleh themselves are critical of their mastery of English.
Why make a fool of yourself and allow the mat sallehs all the ammunition for shaming you on the internet?
Given the crisis of language, there should be more and more tour companies catering for the more diverse Esperanto speakers. Alas, this is not the case in Malaysia, as I spoke to few tour operators and they thought that I was talking about a language from Mars or Jupiter. How ignorant of Malaysians in the cyber age, despite Malaysia claim to be having the best internet speed in the region.
If the local tour operators foresee Esperanto’s possibility as a future international language, they should begin to consider training their staff to communicate in Internacia Lingvo, which has been recommended by UNESCO since 1954. The AIS Esperanto University also provides an Esperanto tourism course.
Whatever the decision made by a government, national or international Esperanto congresses are certainly a part of worldwide tourism. Do take a look at the 72nd Spain National Esperanto Congress, and how the tour guide communicates with the participants from various countries in Esperanto.
You can also read the full 1980 Manila Manifesto at the Malaysia Esperanto Studies Group website.
(I leave it to you to consider whether or not to learn Esperanto. If this is your first encounter with the word Esperanto, you might like to look up the ‘Esperanto’ tag on Loyarburok.)