Tourism Malaysia encounters challenges in domestic tourism promotion efforts

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Malaysia has encountered difficulties in its domestic tourism promotion efforts, with certain states showing a reluctance to share their lists of tourist spots, especially those that need infrastructural development, says Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

"The Prime Minister asked me about the competitiveness of Malaysian tourism compared to Thailand's. He is keen to see Malaysia draw in more tourists, considering our numerous beautiful destinations.

"Unfortunately, following our invitation for discussions, some states have still not presented their lists of sites needing improvements," said the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister.

He said developing tourist sites through a broad strategic approach was important, not just minor improvements.

"During economic downturns, a unified effort is crucial to bolster the tourism sector and generate substantial income," said Tiong at the "Road to Visit Malaysia 2026—Re-Strategise The Marketing Action Plan for Tourism Malaysia Overseas Offices" event.

Tiong also expressed the necessity for directors of overseas offices to increase their efforts to promote Malaysia in the next two years.

"I've made it clear to the Tourism Malaysia Director-General that a transformation is essential; without it, we'll consider leadership changes.

"Our directors abroad must move beyond talk; they require actionable, market-driven plans.

"Our desks need to be alert, responsive to inquiries immediately—not in months or years. Fail to do so, and your position could be at risk," Tiong warned.

He also acknowledged the need to hire more staff for global promotional activities, adding that one office covering promotions in six countries is an unreasonable ask.

He hopes to expand the contract staff to enhance efficiency and outcomes.

Previously, Tourism Malaysia Director General Manoharan Periasamy said the Ministry targeted 220 million domestic tourists and RM88bil in tourism revenue for this year.

"We have achieved 25% of our target in the first quarter," he reported.

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