KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 (Bernama) -- Malaysia must focus on innovation and
quality in order to derive maximum benefits from ASEAN as a single tourism
destination, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul
These were in addition to security, connectivity, sustainability and
manpower factors, he said.
He said as the chairman of ASEAN, Malaysia was willing to take the
leadership role to better align policy and strategic planning at the ASEAN level
to promote intra-ASEAN tourism, as well as to attract more tourist arrivals from
emerging economies.
"Connectivity would be the key enabler to ensure people can travel safely,
securely and efficiently and the government is currently focusing on enhancing
connectivity with the medium-haul markets of China, Japan, Australia, India,
Korea and Taiwan.
"This is in line with our goal to target high net-worth tourists and the
Transport Ministry is championing this entry point project," he said in his
opening keynote address read out by the ministry's secretary-general, Tan Sri Dr
Ong Hong Peng, at the Tourism Summit 2015, here, today.


Nazri said some of the areas to be examined included air service agreements,
border security policies and travel facilitation initiatives, as well as airport
capacity developement and management
"More than 90 per cent of business and leisure travellers begin to plan
their travel using search engine and this innovative technology has
revolutionised the entire travel and tourism experience, and social media has
played a key enabling role.
"Malaysia is intensifying marketing and promotional efforts, especially in
the digital space, and has launched aggressive plans to recover the Chinese
market through the digital sphere.
"Increasingly, we must acknolwedge the role played by online influencers
such as bloggers, and by tourists themselves to share their unique experiences
of Malaysia with their family and friends," he said.
According to Nazri, sustainable or green tourism would also help the
industry to promote awareness and conservation efforts with respect to the
environment, as well as improving the welfare of the local communities involved,
while at the same time benefiting businesses and consumers.


The ministry also emphasised on medical tourism as healthcare travel service
providers had borne fruit, making the country one of the top five destinations
for medical tourism in 2012 and delivered 770,000 medical tourists in 2013, said
"I am also proud of Kuala Lumpur's achievement in being recognised as the
fourth best shopping destination globally after New York, Tokyo and London by
CNN Travel in 2013.
"There is still room for improvement by positioning the country as a
duty-free shopping destination, designating Kuala Lumpur City Centre such as
Bukit Bintang as a vibrant shopping precinct and establishing premium outlets."
"As for culinary tourism, local food is an important element of
total experience and it is essential to build a clear and distinct cuisine
image, besides showcasing the diverse delicacies and the country's signature
hospitality as a unique selling point."
Travel and tourism's direct contribution to Malaysia's Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) was RM61 billion (5.7 per cent of GDP) while total contribution
was RM161 billion (14.9 per cent of GDP) last year.