KUALA LUMPUR: Attracting more tourists to Malaysia requires industry players to be creative and innovative in providing niche products and services that cater for various markets, including the corporate sector.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said her ministry was prepared to assist with policies and guidelines for the industry and was willing to play its part. but ultimately the success and continued growth of the industry was in the hands of the players and all Malaysians.
“There needs to be a change in mindset of all Malaysians in terms of safety, security, hygiene and respect for the environment.
“For industry players, there needs to be self drive to look at creative and innovative ways to grow the industry,” she said yesterday at the second dialogue with industry players themed Malaysia Tourism Transfor-mation Plan 2020 towards 36:168.
Ng said 36:168 represented Malaysia’s target of 36 million tourists and RM168bil in tourism receipts by 2020, the year Malaysia has set to achieve developed status.
“It’s a big challenge but achieveable if we are creative, innovative and competitive by developing niche and attractive packages for various segments of the tourist market, especially those with higher disposable income,” she said.
Ng said conscious consumption was a new tourism trend as consumers sought ecological and culturally sensitive travel products as well as meaningful experiences.
She cited several successful innovative tourist packages such as the homestay programme.
“The homestay programme earned income totalling RM4.9mil in 2009 and up to May this year, we had 159 homestays nationwide with a total of 2,984 houses offering 3,008 rooms. A total of 70,417 visitors have experienced these homestays, of whom 17,842 were foreigners. Income earned during this period (January to May) was RM4.1mil,” she noted.
Ng said industry players should be cognisant of changing trends and offer travel packages to met tourists’ expectations.
She said to achieve the 36:168 target industry players needed to focus on capturing a bigger slice of the high-end tourist market, especially those in the business community as Malaysia’s good infrastructure was well suited to attract these individuals.
“With the creation of meaningful and high-value products, accompanied by excellence in service, the tourism industry will be able to attract greater numbers of high net-worth tourists willing to pay premium prices for first-rate experiences,” Ng said.
For the first quarter of this year, Malaysia registered a total of 5.75 million tourists, an increase of 5.3% compared with the same period in 2009.
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