IMPROVING the public transport system and catering to tourists’ preferences are among the keys to boost tourism in Selangor.
At the recent state assembly sitting, tourism, consumer and environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong revealed short- and long- term plans to boost tourism in the state.
“The estimated expenditure by tourists from January to August is RM5.65bil. The influx of tourists has given a positive impact on the economy,” she said.
Wong said the short-term impact influenced cottage industries. She added that the long-term factors included the environmental aspect, which could lead to changes in the government’s policy; restoration and upgrading work; as well as improving tourism products in Selangor.
“A stable political scene and economy is the key to developing a country’s tourism potential,” she said.
Wong outlined several strategies to attract tourists, both foreign and domestic, to stay longer and spend more in Selangor. These include:
> Signature events including Thaipusam, the Lantern & Floral Festival, the Selangor Musical Extravaganza, the Twins Festival, the Selangor Auto Show and the Traditional Village Game;
> Interesting packages like the Klang Heritage Walk, factory visits and other packages; and
> PromotING popular shopping malls.
Wong added that public amenities also played an important role in attracting tourists.
“The Selangor state government will send an application to the federal government and I also hope that the allocation for infrastructure in the state’s 2010 budget will be used for this purpose,” she said.
Wong also said the state would look into conference tourism and home-stay programmes.
“Selangor is one of the key destinations in Malaysia for local and international conferences.
“Thus, our state has the potential to succeed in the conference tourism sector or Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibition (MICE) activities,” Wong said.
Wong added that there were many homestay programmes in Selangor but the state government was only able to get the entrepreneurs together recently.
“To promote the programme, the state government has published two pamphlets in English and Mandarin.
“Previously, it was difficult for foreign tourists to obtain information on the homestays, so the state government is also helping out by promoting it via the Internet.
She added that homestay programmes in Malaysia were still at a basic level compared with other countries.
“The state government is aware of this weakness and we are striving to improve the homestay industry.
“Recently, we organised a trip to Taiwan to study how they marketed and managed homestay programmes there,” she said.