PETALING JAYA: Looking for untapped markets to boost tourist arrivals into the country is the way forward, say tourism industry players.
The tourism experience must also be adapted to meet the specific needs of these emerging markets.
“Market trends have changed significantly globally. While the focus is still on growing our traditional markets, the focus on non-traditional markets is key to protecting our tourism industry from drastic changes,” said Nigel Wong, president of the Malaysian Tourism Association. travel and travel agents (MATTA).
“MATTA is exploring opportunities in previously untapped regions such as the Balkans and countries like Poland, Estonia and Finland,” he added.
The president of the Inbound Tourism Alliance, Uzaidi Udanis, believes that Russia is a potential source of tourists willing to spend on their trips. Thailand has already received nearly a million Russian visitors this year, he said.
Other non-traditional tourism markets include high-income groups in North African countries such as Algeria and second-tier cities in India.
Furthermore, he believes that Malaysia should focus on the US market.
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“I noticed on social media that many American tourists were praising our culture without negative comments,” he said, adding that the strength of the US dollar against the ringgit would also be a draw for these tourists. tourists.
Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association president Paul Paw suggested Tourism Malaysia expand its efforts to attract tourists from second-tier cities in countries including China, India, Africa and Europe.
However, he believed that national tourism facilities needed to be improved, including collaboration of food and beverage suppliers, businesses in tourist areas, improvement of roads and environmental hygiene.
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He said Malaysian airports must provide more language services to help visitors from different countries, while the KL International Airport skytrain system must be restored as soon as possible.
Recently, Uzbek travel agents have explored collaboration with the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to strengthen promotion and campaigns.
STB president Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who recently met Malaysia-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce vice-president Dilsod Elmuradov, said they expressed interest in promoting Sabah and its attractions.
The Uzbek delegation’s visit included exploring various destinations and conducting hotel inspections in Kota Kinabalu.
They thought Sabah would be an attractive destination for Uzbeks in winter, Joniston said.