PETALING JAYA: The creation of tourism investment zones, making Malaysia an ecotourism destination and stimulating domestic travel are among the key strategies to regenerate the industry which has suffered RM100bil losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, says Prime Minister Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He announced a 10-year plan under the National Tourism Policy 2020-2030 that will create the tourism investment zones alongside five other main thrusts to uplift the local tourism industry.
He said the policy was a much-needed move to revive tourism.
“The government is aware of and sensitive to the big hurdles faced by tourism industry players.
“The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has predicted that the global tourism sector will take two to four years to recover.
“This is a long time and will definitely be a big challenge to those involved directly and indirectly, ” he said at the virtual launch of the National Tourism Policy 2020-2030 organised by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry yesterday.
Muhyiddin said that in 2019, the tourism industry contributed 15.9% to the gross domestic product (GDP) worth RM240.2bil.
“The labour force of the tourism industry recorded 3.6 million people who contributed 23.6% of the total labour force. This means that out of every four jobs in Malaysia, one is linked to the tourism industry.
“At the initial stage, we can regenerate the tourism industry by activating domestic tourism as the borders are still closed, and restore our people’s confidence in visiting local tourism sites, ” he said.
Muhyiddin said the National Tourism Policy 2020-2030 would be implemented through six main strategic thrusts – administration transformation, inclusive tourism investment zones, consolidating tourism digitalisation, enhancing demand sophistication, reinforcing commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism and upskilling human capital in all tourism sub-sectors.
Developing the tourism industry based on digital technology is important to ensure that the objective of the policy is achieved.
“The advancements in technology can strengthen the network between the industry and provide opportunities for new innovative tourism industry sub-sectors, which in turn can create business and job opportunities.
“Technology-centred tourism investment centres are encouraged.
“Under this policy, Malaysia will set up inclusive tourism investment zones to increase public and private cooperation and attract more local and foreign investors, ” he added.
“As a responsible government, it is important to ensure a balance between development, protection and preservation of the country’s treasures, including the environment, culture and heritage.
“Our aim is to brand Malaysia as the ‘Top of the Mind Ecotourism Destination of the World’.
“I believe the preservation of resources can spur new economic growth and create job opportunities. This policy is part of our efforts in Malaysia’s commitment to the United Nations sustainable development goals, ” said Muhyiddin.
The virtual launch was attended by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
She said the policy was meant to make Malaysia the world’s top choice for tourism and would be a yardstick for economic growth that would subsequently create an impact on the national economy.
“The policy will set the strategic direction of the country’s tourism and will focus on sustainable tourism and generating more tourism revenue, ” she added.
She also said Malaysia had received awards as a tourist-friendly country, which was proof that the industry could be regenerated again under the National Tourism Policy.
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