With an estimated 17 million tourists from China and Hong Kong having travelled overseas last year, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen wants Malaysia to capture a sizeable slice of this growing market, especially the luxury end.
Her latest promotion campaign to Hong Kong and southern China last week yielded some interesting results: there is growing interest in luxury tourism besides art and culture tourism and ecotourism among the well-heeled Chinese tourists. "The demand for luxury tourism has increased for the past few years, especially in China and Hong Kong, as many of their travellers are looking for quality holidays rather than cheap products with poor service. They are often cash rich, time poor but demanding," she told Bernama at the end of her recent promotions.
Dr Ng said her ministry recognised the growing importance of high net worth travallers wanting to experience luxurious lifestyles during their travels. "We must build ourselves up as the beauty of Malaysia and our fascinating heritage allow us to offer a diversity of sophisticated products such as golfing, spa retreats as well as art tourism," she said.
Dr Ng said luxury tourism meant that the tour packages must be above RM5,000 each with luxury top-end accommodation, great food and exclusive activities thrown in for the affluent travellers.
As for feedback from travel and tour operators in Hong Kong and southern China, she said Malaysia stood a good chance of getting more tourist arrivals from Hong Kong and China this year. In addition to the luxury segment, Dr Ng said Malaysia also hoped to attract tourists from Hong Kong and China in senior citizens tours, ecotourism, shopping, food and homestay packages.
"Besides tourism packages, we also hope to attract investors from China to invest in tourism-related products like restaurants or invest in property through the "Malaysia, My Second Home" programme," she disclosed.
As a first step towards creating greater awareness among tourists in Hong Kong and China in the art segment and to further position Malaysia as a tourism hub, she said Malaysia would take part in the Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from Oct 3 to 6.
Dr Ng also hoped that the on-going 1Malaysia Contemporary Arts Festival and Malaysia Mega Sale Shopping Carnival and a food festival from October until December this year would attract more overseas tourists. Malaysia, she said, would continue to host the International Shoe Festival and F1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix as part of efforts to have many exciting tourism products.
Tourism brought in about RM52 billion to the nation's coffers last year from a total of 23.65 million tourist arrivals (2008: 22.05 million visitors). For 2010, the target is RM54 billion in receipts from a projected 24 million in visitor arrivals.
Malaysia was also one of seven countries to have achieved positive growth in tourist arrivals last year when the rest of the world experienced a four per cent cent decline, no thanks to the global economic crisis and H1N1 influenza pandemic.
Describing her promotion as successful, Ng added,"We have achieved what we wanted to achieve, which is promoting the new art tourism, as we had met the right people involved in the industry here to inform them that the Malaysian government is keen to develop art tourism."
While in Hong Kong, she met various art industry leaders, including the founder of Hong Kong International Fine Art and Antiques Fair, Andy Hei, and the chairman of the China Culture Global Association, Alice Chiu. Dr Ng said Chiu was expected to lead a group of delegates to Malaysia next month and her ministry was looking forward to welcoming them.
Source : Bernama
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