Weak ringgit set to attract more foreign tourists

“Malaysia has all the good ingredients to attract tourists,” said Teo during the press conference of Reinventing Shopping Malls conference — SHAARI CHEMAT / THESTAR

PETALING JAYA: The weak ringgit remains an attractive point in attracting more tourists to the country, says Malaysia Shopping Mall Association president Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok.

“International brands have a global pricing mechanism. Despite the shrinking ringgit, once tourists convert to their currency, the price will still be quite competitive,” Teo told the media at the Reinventing Shopping Malls conference.

He said the pricing in ringgit would be more appealing than other currencies but on the other hand, Malaysians will feel the pinch when buying imported goods.

He said the focus now is on how to entice tourists to buy Malaysian-made goods instead of international products imported into the country.

Teo said the shopping industry’s potential in the near term is looking good as most malls have recovered post-pandemic and have gone past the pre-pandemic levels.

“The good thing is that every tourist, wherever they go, will spend time shopping because it is a must activity,” he said.

Teo said tourism is an essential component in the shopping mall sector, hence he believed that with more efforts placed to promote Malaysia as a shopping paradise, the easier it is for the association to attract tourists to visit Malaysia.

“The country has all the good ingredients to attract tourists,” he said.

Teo said the fact that shopping malls in Malaysia have made a major comeback post-pandemic shows that the Malaysian public still visits malls for regular outings and that eCommerce has not affected malls as expected.

“There are still people who prefer experiential outings compared to just sitting in front of their computers. We are relieved that eCommerce has not impacted much of shopping malls visitations,” he said.

With the increase in operational expenditure, Teo called for close collaboration between the public and private sectors to bolster the sluggish economy.

“The shopping industry desperately needs public sector assistance and strategies that will incentivise and grow the shopping malls and retail and tourism sectors.

“We look forward to further collaboration with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry as we move forward with our recovery journey and to continue contributing to the national gross domestic product,” he added.

Teo said the association has proposed a free-visa travel for tourists coming to Malaysia in order to make their visits more convenient as well as taxes that can encourage faster updates and renovations for retail shops to keep them fresh and attractive.

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