Thursday, January 16, 2014

Making Malaysia the top destination

BBKLCC World Fiesta Parade. photo: PelanconganKini

For the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC), collaborations forged between the ministry, other government agencies and the private sector have created a seamless and effective working network to implement ideas and share expertise, particularly in the implementation of the Tourism National Key Economic Area (Tourism NKEA).

Under the Tourism NKEA, the tourism industry has targeted to rake in RM168 billion in  receipts and 36 million tourists by 2020 in order to secure Malaysia's position as a leading tourist destination. In 2012, the receipts were about RM60 billion.
Taking the lead on this NKEA, MOTAC has been tasked to oversee the implementation of 12 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) that will  land Malaysia on the world's stage as a preferred, top-of-mind tourist destination.
MOTAC secretary-general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng says his ministry's key performance indicators (KPIs) and that of the Economic Transformation Programme's (ETP) are very much aligned as both parties have common visions.
"Our focus in terms of organisational structure, priorities and resources management are aligned, so we are able to focus on our strategies and maximise  resources to meet our targets. That could be a reason for this seamless relationship.
"In addition, we have project managers, leaders and capable individuals heading our projects at the steering committee levels. We also work with the private sector to create a positive environment for a public-private partnership. This is important as most of our investment-based projects are dependent on private intervention.
"With a good working relationship between agencies and private sector, we are very much progressive in all aspects," says Ong.
Shopping, themed as Affordable Luxury, is one the key areas that gets most of the attention and has recorded tremendous improvement.
Three out of the 12 EPPs are connected closely to the development of the shopping scene in the country, namely the positioning of the country as a duty-free shopping destination; the designation of Bukit Bintang-KLCC area as a vibrant shopping precinct; and the establishment of premium outlets.
"One of the best examples that demonstrate our collaborative network is the establishment of the Bukit-Bintang-KLCC Tourism Association.
"In the beginning, all representatives in the association committee were from the government. But today, we have got the buy-in from the private sector as well. The committee members now are from both private and public sectors, including  the malls within the golden triangle," says Ong, adding that association is now active in organising events, activities and programmes that correlate with the ministry's goals and targets.
"Ideally, this is what we are trying to achieve with all our EPPs. "For instance for cruise tourism, we have set up the Malaysian Cruise Council (MCC) that will make policy recommendations and facilitate regional cooperation to grow cruise tourism.
"It involves both public and private sector members from the industry, such as representatives from the major ports," says Ong, adding that the government should only act as facilitators in all these committees and the KPIs of all parties will be incorporated when programmes are drafted and implemented.
He adds that one of the biggest challenges faced in streamlining the agencies and private sector is to get their buy-ins.
"We have to get all parties to see how each goal benefits them and then once they come on board, we need to get them take ownership of the goals  and work together. It's convincing them that we are working towards a common objective that's hard, but once we get their commitment, it becomes much easier."
Tourism NKEA has five themes that incorporate 10 EPPs. Apart from Affordable Luxury (shopping), there's Nature Adventure (Malaysia as global biodiversity hub), Business Tourism (Malaysia as leading business tourism destination), Family Fun (Integrated resorts and cruise tourism) and Events, Entertainment, Spa and Sports (dedicated entertainment zones, international events, spa and golf tourism).
It also focuses on Enhancing Connectivity and Improving rates, mix and quality of hotels as the 11th and 12th EPP. The ministry has also taken  progressive measures and initiatives to include innovative approaches in marketing  events and products.
These include the creation of  mobile applications for homestay and the Malaysia Trip Planner, dedicated websites for Visit Malaysia Year 2014 and MOTAC,  as well as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube sites to promote various tourism products and programmes.
On Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014, Ong says there is always a surge in tourist arrivals and tourism receipts during every VMY, and the ministry will do what it can to accelerate the implementation of the EPPs that will help the ministry meet its target.
This year, in conjunction with VMY 2014, the ministry targets an arrival of 28 million tourists and receipts worth RM76 billion.
-nst online.

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