Confronted with a sharp contraction in international visitors, Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur turns its eyes towards domestic tourists with special packages.
The weakening of the Ringgit by almost 20% does not seem to stimulate international arrivals to Malaysia. While the Ringgit went down from an average of RM 3.57 for one dollar in January of this year to RM 4.25 on average in October, total international arrivals declines by 9.4% in the first half of this year. Malaysia recorded 12.56 million tourists from January to June, compared to 13.9 million in the first half of last year. However, Kuala Lumpur seems to perform even worst than the country.
According to the Star newspaper, hotels and tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur have seen a 20% to 30% drop in numbers in the first six months of this year.
According to Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz, “one of the contributing factors is uncertainty over the economy.This has led to many tourists cutting back on their holidays,” he declared during the official launch of “KL Dekat Je” campaign at Sunway Putra Mall. Others said that despite the drop in the value of the Ringgit, a new VAT introduced last April has turned Malaysia into a more expensive country to spend now holidays. Some countries such as Indonesia or Thailand feel now the pinch as their own currencies also lost ground against the dollar or the euro.
Kuala Lumpur is now concentrating on boosting domestic tourism which seems to show more resilience. New packages and new tourism products are being launched to attract domestic travellers. KL Mayor vowed to work more closely with the private sector to attract more visitors.
Latest initiative is the “KL Dekat Je” which is conducted in cooperation with the Malaysia Association Of Hotels (KL Chapter), KL City Gallery, KL Hop On Hop Off, Sutra Travel Management Companies and Tourism Malaysia. For a package per person starting at RM180, domestic travellers can enjoy a 3D/2N hotel stay and get tickets to the musical MUD Kuala Lumpur, KL Hop On Hop Off and KL City Gallery, a voucher from Sunway Putra Mall and a choice of two guided walking tours as well as museum visits without charges.
“The objective of this holiday package is to stimulate domestic tourism by making Kuala Lumpur the main destination for domestic tourists with an objective of 15,000 packages being sold”, added the Mayor. The package can be bought at www.visitkl.gov.my until Dec 31.