TOURISM is a vital part of many economies around the world.
It boosts the revenue of the economy, creates thousands of jobs and contributes to the development of a city’s infrastructures.
The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has left a massive social and economic impact on the tourism sector of many cities in the world, including Putrajaya.
The years 2020 and 2021 were set to be milestones for the administrative capital’s tourism programme, in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia 2020 promotional drive.
World Tourism Day 2021 highlighted the power of “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”.
But movement restrictions, closure of state borders nationwide and the pause in international travel have greatly affected the industry.
The restart of tourism will boost recovery and growth.
The human desire to travel and explore is universal.
Tourism is directly related to mobility and the peripheral services that come with it.
Putrajaya is gearing up to welcome tourism activities again.
For a start, Putrajaya has reopened its parks to those who have been fully vaccinated.
The tourism unit in Perbadanan Putrajaya (PPj) — the local authority for the administrative capital — is strategising its tourism promotional plan.
To achieve inclusive growth in line with sustainable development goals, Putrajaya’s vision for tourism will be focusing on several selected niche clusters.
International positioning, product diversification, facility enhancements and infrastructure improvements will be the focus in strengthening tourism as a key economic function.
With the existing availability of quality tourism products and the international exposure of being the Federal Government’s administrative centre, Putrajaya is poised to be promoted as an international tourist destination.
From 2017 to 2019, an average of seven to 8.7 million tourists and other visitors had visited Putrajaya. But due to the pandemic, the number decreased to approximately 1.7 million in 2020 and declined further in 2021.
Putrajaya possesses a variety of iconic tourist attractions that provide a strong foundation for the growth of the tourism business.
Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), the iconic architectural landmark buildings along Putrajaya Boulevard at Persiaran Perdana, its iconic bridges, parks and lakes have already attracted many tourists.
They appeal to almost all tourist market segments, from convention delegations to business travellers and holidaymakers.
Niche clusters that include meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, sports and recreation, natural environment, built environment, food and shopping, cultural and heritage, medical, health and wellness, as well as community- based tourism will be further developed.
Additional tourist attractions under each cluster will be created, aside from further development of tourism amenities, promotional efforts, related tourism investment, partnerships and community engagement.
Putrajaya’s domestic tourism plan also aims to generate a higher multiplier effect, creating jobs and business opportunities for residents and tourism industry players in the country as well.
PPj senior vice-president Datuk Fadlun Mak Ujud said they would plan signature events that would benefit all levels of society, especially those hit badly by the pandemic, including big players as well as small and medium enterprises.
Malaysian handicraft such as songket and batik shall be promoted at signature events in Putrajaya.
The city will also be hosting the International Board on Books for Young People Congress 2022 in September, which will be attended by participants from 80 countries.
“We will take the opportunity during this event to showcase the country’s cultural, heritage and tourism icons,” said Fadlun.
The local authority’s strategic action plan will serve as a blueprint to strengthen the tourism sector as a key economic sector.
It will identify new products for further development and enhance underdeveloped products in the niche clusters.
Among its new iconic products are Putrajaya Chocolate Centre at Souq Shoppe, Glamping at Taman Wetland, Anjung Floria Sandy Beach, Tangga Putrajaya (Putrajaya Steps) in Taman Putra Perdana, Quranic Village, Putrajaya Sports Arena, Putrajaya Cycling Route, Putrajaya Garden Shop, community gardens and a stingless bee farm.
Marketing strategies and action plans will be an important part of achieving the objectives, as PPj attempts to reach international tourists and elevate Putrajaya as an international destination.
The sustainable tourism approach gives priority to the components and facilities at its parks.
It will also enhance its public squares such as Dataran Putra, Dataran Putrajaya, Dataran Gemilang and promenade areas with sculptures, walking and cycling trails, architectural trails, cafes, kiosks and souvenir centres.
Cultural and heritage aspects will be enhanced too, with the creation of a waterfront cultural bazaar and cultural pavilions.
Putrajaya is also a haven for food lovers.
The food courts in Precincts 8, 9, 11 and 16 offer a varied fare. Rasa Food Court in Alamanda Shopping Complex, Putrajaya Lake Club Restaurant and Bora Ombak Restaurant at Marina Putrajaya, PICC’s restaurant besides other restaurants and cafes in the commercial centre at Ayer@8 in Precinct 8, as well as Precinct 15 are popular food destinations too.
In terms of medical tourism, Putrajaya has state-of-the-art medical facilities, both existing and upcoming. Its National Endocrine Hospital is almost ready. The National Cancer Hospital is also located in this city.
PPj is also exploring ways to enhance tourist movement by creating more packages and facilities at its parks, wetlands and lakes.
It has found potential in urban bird-watching, which shall be enhanced to generate jobs and business opportunities for residents.
Its urban farms are another community-based tourism product to be enhanced.
Also an important aspect is Putrajaya embracing digitalisation, with smart collaborations and the usage of advanced technology as the way forward.
“We can reconnect and engage with our potential partners across the world through digital platforms to leverage the entire business-to-business spectrum to boost tourism activity,” Fadlun noted.
At the same time, Putrajaya will ensure all standard requirements related to Covid-19 restrictions, rules and regulations by the National Security Council will be adhered to by all in the industry and by visitors, he added.
Working for inclusive growth means getting everybody behind a better vision for tourism.
“Only this way can tourism’s restart reach the people and communities that need it the most right now, building foundations for a better future for all.
“Putrajaya will go all out to support inclusive growth in tourism by working on activities that can increase revenue, support partnerships and investments, and empower local communities to ensure sustainability and resilience of the industry,” said Fadlun.