Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tourism: Malaysia To Focus On Innovation And Quality - Nazri

photo: MOTAC facebook
KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 (Bernama) -- Malaysia must focus on innovation and quality in order to derive maximum benefits from ASEAN as a single tourism destination, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

These were in addition to security, connectivity, sustainability and manpower factors, he said.

He said as the chairman of ASEAN, Malaysia was willing to take the leadership role to better align policy and strategic planning at the ASEAN level to promote intra-ASEAN tourism, as well as to attract more tourist arrivals from emerging economies.

"Connectivity would be the key enabler to ensure people can travel safely, securely and efficiently and the government is currently focusing on enhancing connectivity with the medium-haul markets of China, Japan, Australia, India, Korea and Taiwan.

"This is in line with our goal to target high net-worth tourists and the Transport Ministry is championing this entry point project," he said in his opening keynote address read out by the ministry's secretary-general, Tan Sri Dr Ong Hong Peng, at the Tourism Summit 2015, here, today.

Nazri said some of the areas to be examined included air service agreements, border security policies and travel facilitation initiatives, as well as airport capacity developement and management

"More than 90 per cent of business and leisure travellers begin to plan their travel using search engine and this innovative technology has revolutionised the entire travel and tourism experience, and social media has played a key enabling role.

"Malaysia is intensifying marketing and promotional efforts, especially in the digital space, and has launched aggressive plans to recover the Chinese market through the digital sphere.

"Increasingly, we must acknolwedge the role played by online influencers such as bloggers, and by tourists themselves to share their unique experiences of Malaysia with their family and friends," he said.

According to Nazri, sustainable or green tourism would also help the industry to promote awareness and conservation efforts with respect to the environment, as well as improving the welfare of the local communities involved, while at the same time benefiting businesses and consumers.

The ministry also emphasised on medical tourism as healthcare travel service providers had borne fruit, making the country one of the top five destinations for medical tourism in 2012 and delivered 770,000 medical tourists in 2013, said Nazri.

"I am also proud of Kuala Lumpur's achievement in being recognised as the fourth best shopping destination globally after New York, Tokyo and London by CNN Travel in 2013.

"There is still room for improvement by positioning the country as a duty-free shopping destination, designating Kuala Lumpur City Centre such as Bukit Bintang as a vibrant shopping precinct and establishing premium outlets."

"As for culinary tourism, local food is an important element of tourists total experience and it is essential to build a clear and distinct cuisine image, besides showcasing the diverse delicacies and the country's signature hospitality as a unique selling point."

Travel and tourism's direct contribution to Malaysia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was RM61 billion (5.7 per cent of GDP) while total contribution was RM161 billion (14.9 per cent of GDP) last year.

-bernama.

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