Malaysia expects more tourists from neighbouring countries

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

TOURISM, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri expects the reopening of Malaysia’s tourism industry to be supported by tourists from neighbouring countries.

“The arrival of international tourists will gradually grow in 2022 from neighbouring countries namely Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei, followed by regional South-East Asian countries and from the medium and long haul market.

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“The widespread vaccination rollout, lifting of travel restrictions, standard coordination and clearer information on travel protocols will speed up the recovery of international tourism,” she said during the launch of Tourism Malaysia’s Strategic and Marketing Plan for 2022-2026 yesterday.

To attract these short-haul travellers, Tourism Malaysia will continue to promote Malaysia as a family-oriented shopping destination for tourists from Brunei.

It will also maintain Singapore’s position as the top contributor of tourist arrivals to Malaysia while it aims to make Malaysia a top relaxing holiday for Indonesian travellers.

Moreover, travel agents will be exploring the prospects of niche products to be promoted to tourists in the Philippines as well as encourage Thai tourists to extend their stay here.

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The minister hoped that strategies and plans will succeed in the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s target of hitting two million international tourist arrivals and RM8.6 billion tourist receipts.

The launch of the plan is in tandem with the country’s international border reopening tomorrow where it will focus on promoting domestic tourism and recovering international travel.

It also aims to focus on digital adoption, innovation, health and safety, and includes six pillars which are to boost domestic tourism: Forge smart partnerships, enhance tourism promotion, optimise strategic communication and media engagement, implement travel bubbles and undertake strategic transformation.

In terms of domestic tourism, Tourism Malaysia has also outlined three core strategies namely restoring travellers’ confidence, reviving domestic tourism and maximising resources. These strategies will focus on homestays and agritourism as well as providing incentives and digital vouchers.

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“Domestic tourism and travel close to home, as well as open-air activities, nature-based products and rural tourism are among the major travel trends that will continue to shape tourism in 2022,” Nancy added.

Through this plan, the agency will also continue to work alongside industry players as well as the government and NGOs to reinvent products and organise tourism programmes.

Since the IR4.0 has influenced the tourism industry, Tourism Malaysia would conduct presentations via webinars and publish promotional materials and produce short video clips to implement an online presence.

It will also focus on trends and partner with influencers to reach a wider consumer audience whereas tourism offices and tourist information centres will assume bigger roles.

The new plan was developed based on the National Tourism Policy 2020-2030, National Ecotourism Plan 2016-2025, National Cultural Policy 2021 and United Nations World Tourism Organisation Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategies are also formulated on market trends and sentiments, secondary data research as well as input from stakeholders and industry players.