PUTRAJAYA: The country tourism industry will be facing bleak times ahead as fewer and fewer people opt to go abroad for holidays due to the weak global economy.
Even the projected tourist arrivals next year is expected to shrink to 20 million and this is with aggressive promotional efforts which the Tourism Ministry will undertake.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the decline was inevitable as there were growing concerns over the economic condition as well as security and safety issues.
This is our projection for next year but what happens after that depends on the global economy. The industry is closely linked with the economic situation.
We cannot insulate tourism prospects from what is happening globally in terms of economic condition. Nevertheless, the Government will beef up efforts to promote the country and emphasis will be given to the convention and exhibition sector of the industry,Â he said.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday after chairing the Cabinet Committee on Tourism, Najib said this years projected tourist arrivals of 22.5 million people was expected to fall short with only 22 million arrivals achieved.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are hoping to get 20 million visitors to Malaysia next year and this is with the aggressive promotion. Otherwise, we anticipate the figure to be around 18 million,Â he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the Tourism Ministry would actively promote Malaysia as a destination for conventions and exhibitions as the local industry has the capacity and capability, adding that such programmes would bring in large number of tourists to the country.
He said the committee has agreed to the establishment of the Malaysian Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MYCEB) which will be a one-stop centre to co-ordinate the needs of convention and exhibition organisers who want to bring their programmes and activities to Malaysia.
He said the bureau which would have the co-operation of relevant ministries, agencies and the private sector, would draw up attractive customised incentives for organisers and a launching grant of RM5mil has been set aside to set up the bureau.
The committee has also asked the Tourism Ministry to come up with a working paper on how to make the Malaysia My Second Home programme more attractive and effective.
At present, we hear of complaints of constraints that programme participants are facing and we want it to be revamped so that we can attract more foreigners to make Malaysia their second home,Â he said.
Najib said among complaints aired by foreigners who signed up for the programme was that they were unable to take up part-time work while in the country and the question of investments and funds permitted.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said said there would be more flexibility awarded to participants of the Malaysia My Second Home programme, particularly concerning the purchase of properties and bringing in funds and cash into the country.
We want to make it more attractive for them to come and live in Malaysia. The committee basically has agreed to have flexible policies but we will have to flesh out the specifics,Â she said.
Source : The Star