MALAYSIA is in an excellent position to further improve its standing as one of the world’s top global destinations, given its abundant tourist destinations. Already we are the ninth most visited country in the world.
Our receipts of RM1bil per week from tourists ranks us 13th globally in terms of tourist’s receipts. The tourism industry is the seventh largest contributor to the Malaysian economy with a GNI total of RM37.4bil in 2011 and is poised to enjoy consistent growth.
In Budget 2011, the Prime Minister announced the abolishment of import duties for 328 items, under these categories – cosmetics and perfumes, leather goods, textiles, apparel and clothing, footwear, headgear, jewellery excluding coins, electrical goods and toys.
Tourism Malaysia also stepped up efforts in promoting Malaysia as an attractive shopping destination. As a result, the Departing Visitor’s Survey by the Shopping Secretariat Malaysia under the Tourism Ministry reported that the percentage of shopping spend in Malaysia increased from 28% in 2010 to 32% in 2011 while the total tourist spend per arrival increased from RM660 to RM736.5 in the same period.
The Bukit Bintang (BB)-Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) area has been designated as Malaysia’s premier shopping precinct, and the BB-KLCC Tourism Association was set up in September 2011 to represent the interests of landowners, mall operators and retailers within the precinct.
Its core responsibilities include the coordination of marketing and promotional activities and the development of the precinct into a major tourist shopping destination.
Apart from integrated events, major physical improvements were also made to provide seamless connectivity between shopping malls, offices and hotels in the area. Elevated and air-conditioned walkways totalling 537m were erected between Suria KLCC and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, linking directly to buildings and major road intersections. In total, 1,350m of covered walkways were completed in 2011.
The first outlet centre in Malaysia, the Johor Premium Outlets, was officiated by the Prime Minister on Dec 11 last year.
Hosting major international events is an important platform to promote Malaysia as a travel destination. A dedicated International Events Unit under the Malaysian Convention and Exhibition Bureau was set up in January 2011 to identify and bid for international events, develop homegrown events and produce clusters of smaller shows around major international events.
In 2011, IEU supported the development of several homegrown and home hosted events and produced event clusters which were promoted by Tourism Malaysia and event organisers nationwide.