New challenges in selling ‘Truly Asia’

Leong (left) says more travellers are favouring personalised experiences now while Mohd Jamal feels Kota Tinggi can become a top destination if connectivity issues are addressed.

THE tourism industry is urged to step up its game especially when it comes to providing experiential products beyond the norm.

Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said the industry was now facing a new world of challenges and should move away from its old mindset.

“The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic has given birth to a trend of tourists going for more personalised experiences rather than commercial tourism products.

“Visitors are seeking the chance to learn the heritage and culture of places on their own and sometimes without the need for tour guides.

“Malaysia is actually perfect for this as we have the complete package of cultural heritage, rich past and multiracial society that we are currently selling as the Truly Asia experience,” he said when contacted.

“So we need more heritage walks and cultural villages to be presented and curated into an immersive experience so that tourists will be able to understand the Malaysian culture.”

He was commenting on improvements that could be made by the tourism industry in line with the World Tourism Day celebration in September.

Meanwhile, Greater Desaru Tourism Association chairman Kol (Rtd) Mohd Jamal Salleh said Kota Tinggi had the potential to become a top international tourism destination if connectivity issues were addressed.

“We have a lot of tourism products that we can be proud of, but at the same time, the potential for them to grow is limited due to connectivity issues in Desaru.

“The main issue is congestion at the Senai Desaru Expressway (SDE) during the weekends or long holidays.

“The congestion is not only in the direction towards Desaru but heading to Johor Baru as well.”

The association suggested that the government could direct more passengers to Tanjung Pengelih Jetty and Tanjung Belungkor Jetty from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore, besides the Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal.

“This way, people will have more options in travelling to Desaru, and this will help reduce the number of vehicles on the road,” said Mohd Jamal.

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