Tourism Malaysia

Tourism beyond profits

Tourism beyond profits

THE DPM’s officiation has effectively showcased our commitment to PATA, and the Malaysian Government’s dedication to us, Tourism Minister Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen told The Star at the event opening yesterday.

Highlighting several key factors that directly affect the tourism industry in Malaysia in the long run, Dr Ng acknowledged PATA’s influence over the international arena of tourism.

“PATA must take a strong stand on contentious issues to bring its members together. What we need now is for the fraternity to put its minds together. Whatever PATA says, everyone listens. We will promote and encourage participation,” she said.

Environmental factors and a shared sense of social responsibility by all Malaysian citizens can make tourism an agent of change for the country, which in turn will have a positive effect on the nation’s economy, she added.

“Overseas friends must be able to trust us enough to come here. Tourism should be discussed more from elementary; it should be in students’ syllabus. Things like climate change and how it affects our tourism industry should be ingrained in our youths,” Dr Ng stressed.

Awareness is needed to engage the younger generation to take on an active role in the tourism industry, especially as they are social media-savvy.

“Awareness brings forth interest and desire, which leads to action,” she noted.

She refuted the perception that upscaling the tourism industry will only benefit the super rich.

“The truth is, it affects grassroots service providers such as waiters, caddy drivers, spa therapists and so on. People have to understand that it is every citizen’s responsibility to be directly or indirectly involved in the industry. At the moment, we are facing a shortage of 6,000 spa therapists!

“That’s what responsible tourism is all about – citizens have to get involved. If it’s just the Ministry that’s doing the thinking, without the people, the country won’t improve. It’s a combined effort,” said Dr Ng.

Dr Ng intimated that Malaysia’s bagging of three PATA Gold Awards (among a total of 27 other accolades that went to the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Tourism Authority of Thailand) this year came as a surprise to her.

“It never crossed my mind that I would be given this honour, but for that, I am grateful that in being Tourism Minister, I understand the intricacies involved. People tend to associate tourism with leisure, but the burden is in orchestrating the game plan. I really want the rural folk to be a part of it so that they can be empowered,” she said.

She called on industry players to meet the changing demands of the tourism industry.

“The world is very different today than it was decades ago. Before this, people waited till they reached their 40s to travel, perhaps, once a year. Today, young people travel all the time, several times a year, in fact,” she said.

It is now about the packages we can give to travellers, Dr Ng added. “The ministry can’t package deals – and that in itself spells opportunity for the private sector. The government’s role is to build the platform and bring the tourists in. You, help globe-trotters experience Malaysia.”


Cuisine in Melaka


MALACCA: The Malacca International Airport in Batu Berendam is greeting its maiden arrival of a Boeing 737-500 flight carrying 120 passengers recently.

It is the first Riau Air flight of this capacity. The airline has been been operating daily flights between Pekan Baru in Indonesia and Malacca using the Fokker 50, carrying 50 passengers, since early this year.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the state government would work at getting more special flights from Macau and China to Malacca.

Busier times ahead: Filepic is showing a small passenger aircraft arriving from Indonesia at the Malacca International Airport.

He said the state was expected to receive as many as 10 million tourists compared with 8.9 million last year.

Up to October this year, he said Malacca had seen 7.8 million tourist arrivals and another 2.2 million were expected in the final two months of 2010.

“The number of tourists has risen considerably since Malacca was declared a World Heritage Site in July 2008,” he said in his speech at the ‘Session with Eminent Personalities’ organised by the Institute of Management and Integrity (Inspim) Malacca recently. Also present was guest-of-honour Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

The international airport was opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in February following upgrading works involving its terminal facilities and runway. Covering 7,000sqm, the airport’s new terminal has facilities to handle domestic and international flights and can handle 1.5 million passengers annually.

Dr Ng told a news conference later that Malacca received an allocation of RM157.2mil for a two-year period under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), which was 46% of the total allocation of RM340mil under the tourism implementation programme.

“This allocation is in recognition of Malacca’s importance as a prime tourist destination,” she said.

At the same function, Dr Ng also announced five main projects under 10MP, which included upgrading of facilities at the Ayer Keroh Botanical Park costing RM30mil, developing the Tasik Chin Chin area in Jasin (RM25mil) and building infrastructure for the cable car in Bandar Hilir (RM49mil).

The two others are the monorail phase two project along Sungai Malacca (RM13.2mil) and the development of the Hang Tuah village along the Duyung River (RM40mil).

Meanwhile, Mohd Ali said Malacca planned to hold a Baba-Nyonya International Festival for the first time next year to attract more tourists to the state.

He said the Casa del Rio boutique hotel in Bandar Hilir, expected to be ready by April 2011, would be the main venue for the festival showcasing the culture, traditions, fashion and food of the Baba-Nyonya community.

Organised with the cooperation of the Tourism Ministry, the festival will also invite the participation of Penang, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand which also have such a community. — Bernama

Webmaster: Macau China are important markets for Melaka. Macau received about 20 million visitors and Melaka Macau have strong links with Portugal. It will be beneficial to Melaka if more chartered flights from Macau can fly direct into Melaka International Airport.