THE Government is looking at ways to increase the number of domestic tourists this year, Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
He said last year alone, the “Holiday in Malaysia” campaign generated RM5.4bil to the country's economy, of which RM20mil were from domestic tourists.
He said 36% of the amount came from hotel accommodation, 25% from sales of products and services, 15% for food and beverages and the balance from other expenditure.
“We expect the amount to increase further with the present five-day shift for civil servants.
“Based on a study by research company AC Nielsen, the longer break would have a multiplier effect of between five and 6.5 times in people going for a holiday and shop,” he said after launching the Negri Sembilan mega sales carnival at Nilai 3 wholesale centre on Saturday.
Later, he visited the mini cars, mini super bikes and modified cars exhibition and gave away prizes to the owners of the most attractive vehicles. Also present were state executive council member Datuk Zakaria Nordin, Nilai Municipal Council president Nordin Yatib, Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general Datin Dalilah Ahmad, state Customs Department director Datuk Ismail Ibrahim and Nilai 3 managing director Wong Ah San.
Ahmad Zahid said he would be leading a delegation to several Middle East countries in September to entice more foreign tourists into the country.
“Despite several bombing incidents recently, there are no signs of tourist arrival slowing down,” he said, adding that the post-tsunami period recorded 1.35 million visitors per month as compared to 1.2 million visitors previously.
“Locally made shoes such as Vincci are very popular among the Middle East visitors,” he said, adding that business establishments must play a role to help promote local handicraft and small and medium scale industries.