According to Malaysian newspaper New Strait Times, Malaysia budget towards promotion is not sufficient to turn around the corner and make tourist arrivals growing again. Hopes are high for a change in 2019 reports the newspaper.
Malaysia is now quite far behind compared to other countries in the Asean region in terms of promotion, which could be one of the reasons for the dip in tourist arrivals.
In this respect, Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general (promotion) Datuk Seri Abdul Khani Daud expressed his hope that the government could allocate at least RM300 million (close to US$72 million) in the 2019 Budget to be tabled next month so that it could continue promote the country abroad.
He said efforts must be made to address the current situation and boost tourist arrivals because it could affect the country’s economy since the sector was one of its the key factors in generating its income.
“For this year, we did not get any allocation to promote Malaysia abroad. In 2017, despite the limited allocation, we manage to promote and bring in RM82 billion worth of revenue in tourism sector,” he told reporters after the launch of Tourism Malaysia Carnival ‘It’s All Here”.
Abdul Khani said the lack of allocation for the ministry to carry out promotional programmes could hamper its effort in attracting tourists to visit Malaysia, known as one of the best tourism destinations in the world.
“Should this happen, it will be costly to restart the campaign as we try to change the tourists’ mindset so that they will return to visit Malaysia. It will not be an easy task.
“The campaign to visit Malaysia has started since 1999, earlier than Thailand and other Asean countries. With the lack of promotion due to the absence of allocation, however, we are now quite far behind, even when compared with Vietnam which only started (its promotion) after us.”
Abdul Khani said the number of tourist arrivals to other Asean countries were more encouraging than Malaysia.
“If we look at Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, they have been carrying out continuous campaigning. We were once at the same level as these nations, but the situation has changed and our competitors have taken over,” he added.
Abdul Khani also welcomed the move agreed by Malaysia and Thailand to open up their borders for 24 hours every day.
“This will provide big opportunities for us to attract 82 million Thais to visit our country. So far, we only receive about 1.9 million tourists from Thailand whereas we are neighbours.
“We can also work with Thailand to promote Malaysia,” he said.
(Source: New Straits Times)