Malaysia’s tourism minister’s new targets
Malaysia’s new tourism minister, Datuk Seri Tengku
Adnan Tengku, is planning a series of initiatives including promotional
campaign for media and simplification of entry procedures in order to bring
20.1 million tourists to Malaysia, generating an income of RM44.5 billion or
US$12 billion next year, which is also Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
This year the ministry has set a target of getting 17.5
million tourist arrivals to generate income of US$10.2 billion.
The ministry is to intensify promotion efforts, including
organizing familiarization trips involving the media and tour operators to
potential markets overseas to promote Malaysia, re-branding tourism programs
in the country to further tap the China market, and setting up a team to
counter negative reports about the country by the foreign press.
“We are going to push tourist arrivals to a record 20.1
million next year. We are looking at ASEAN as one of our key areas. We want
to promote Malaysia in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines as
people there are earning more, and can afford to travel,” the new minister
said. “We will revise the tourism programs to include areas the Chinese
would want to visit. For instance, we can include Kek Lok Si temple in
Penang rather than just take tourists to Malacca to see the legacy of
Laksamana Cheng Ho.”
Tengku Adnan is also planning to set up meetings with the
Immigration Department, taxi associations and also all the front liners of
the Malaysian tourism industry.
“With Visit Malaysia Year 2007, we must sort out the
perennial problem of Immigration officers being rude to tourists, or taxi
drivers and shop keepers cheating visitors and the front liners not giving
proper service to those who come here for their holidays,” he said.
Tengku Adnan said he would talk about how immigration
officers could offer fast and cordial service at entry points to give
tourists a positive first impression of Malaysia and prompt them to extend
their stay in the country. These tourists would return to their countries as
the “ambassadors or marketing officers” of Malaysia and spread the word
about the good treatment they received.
He also referred to complaints, including a recent report
in Australia, which advised Australians citizens not to use their credit or
charge cards in Malaysia because the cards would be cloned here.
“Malaysia, definitely doesn’t need this kind of adverse publicity
because it’s bad for business,” he told media. “We are quite worried
about the negative reports by the foreign press. Some countries have come up
with negative reports telling people not to use credit cards in Malaysia to
avoid cloning. I would like to appeal to retailers not to give out credit
card numbers to unscrupulous people to avoid such incidents.”
Malaysia is also looking into ways to encourage tourists
to spend more nights in the country, from 6.9 nights this year, to 7.5
nights in 2007. “The longer tourists stay in Malaysia, the more they will
spend. Currently, the average spending of a tourist is RM2,000 (US$539),”
Tengku Adnan reportedly said.
Mekong Tourism Investment: A New Era Beckons
Nine tourism investment experts and project managers will
address the inaugural Mekong Tourism Investment Summit in Luang Prabang, Lao
PDR, March 28-30.
Their objective of the Summit is to provide a forum for
candid discussion and concrete action to encourage positive growth and
investment in the tourism sectors in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar , Thailand ,
Vietnam , and the Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of China (PRC).
The Summit will raise the profile of the Mekong region as
an expanding tourism destination by linking tourism investors with business
opportunities, promoting win-win partnership models between investors and
local communities, and creating an accessible investment environment through
dialogue, debate, and action.
The Summit seeks to attract private sector investors to
fund responsible and sustainable projects throughout the region. The event,
hosted by the Lao National Tourism Administration, will recommend action to
overcome obstacles to growth. Outcomes will be tabled at the Mekong-region
tourism ministers’ dialogue which will take place at the PATA Annual
Conference in Pattaya, Thailand, April 24.
“In the last 10 years governments in the Mekong region
have started meaningful collaboration to advance tourism,” said Mekong
Tourism Office Executive Director, Stephen Yong.
“The role of the private sector should now be expanded.
The Summit will show how, by analyzing successful case studies and exposing
the regulatory and financial issues that need to be addressed.”
There is strong potential for return on investment as the
Pacific Asia Travel Association predicts steady increases in international
visitor arrivals for the region to 2008. Between 2005 and 2008 the
association predicts international arrivals will increase as follows:
Cambodia 18.2 percent, Lao PDR 16.1 percent, Myanmar 11.7 percent, Thailand
11.2 percent, and Vietnam 13.0 percent.
At the local level, tourism can have a dramatic impact.
In Luang Prabang, for example, tourist arrivals increased from 110,240 in
year 2000 to 261,950 in 2005, an increase of 138 percent. At the macro
level, the World Bank predicts read gross domestic product growth for 2006
Cambodia 6.1 percent
Laos PDR 7.0 percent
Thailand 4.4 percent (1)
Vietnam 7.5 percent
China 8.6 percent (2)
During the Summit there will be detailed investment case
studies. Major features of the Summit will include:-
user-friendly documents detailing tourism investment
procedures presentations from entrepreneurs profiling investment success
stories case studies of pioneering community-private sector partnerships.
breakout sessions on improving the investment environment Mekong-region
country booths Bangkok Airways, Amadeus Asia Pacific, Best Western Asia,
Diethelm Travel, Incentive House Asia and TTR Weekly are sponsors while
supporting partners are Lao Airlines, SNV, the Asian Development Bank, PATA
and Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports
Selection of THAI president accelerated
Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
is accelerating selecting a new president so that the company’s top
management will be in office by the time Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi
Airport is opened for commercial use later this year.
Deputy Transport Minister Phumtham Wechayachai Phumtham,
who oversees the national flag carrier, said that qualifications of the
selected candidate would have to meet the Ministry of Transport’s
They include being competent and having experience in
successful management of a multi-billion-baht business, and being capable of
strengthening and uniting organizational organs in order to drive the
company forward with competitiveness and solidarity, he noted.
“There are urgent tasks waiting for the new THAI
president, including improvements of internal management, customers services
and passenger aircraft to meet world-classed standards.
The company’s selection process for its new president
to replace Kanok Abhiradee has already been extended once before.
Kanok’s term will officially end soon, though he has
already been ‘shelved’ with the appointment of Somchainuk Engtrakul, a
THAI board member, as the acting president since last year.
“Once the qualified candidate is selected, we’ll
announce it to the public,” the minister told journalists.
Meanwhile, Caretaker Transport Minister Pongsak
Raktapongpaisal confirmed that the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport
would be open for commercial purposes in late June as scheduled, despite any
political change, with the new government to be formed after the snap
election following the dissolution of the House of Representatives on
The minister said that the construction of the new
airport is now 99 percent completed, and that overall decorations would soon
He conceded, however, that the new airport’s catering
services would be fully in place by September - three months after the
opening of the airport - due to a delay in repair works of THAI’s catering
building after it was damaged by a fire earlier this year.
“During the three-month period, the airport’s
catering services will be served by THAI’s old catering facility at the
Don Muang Airport,” he noted.
For the airport-link project, which includes the
development of a mass rapid transit system connecting the new airport with
Bangkok’s downtown areas, Pongsak said the project is expected to be
completed over the next two years. (TNA)
Thailand predicts inbound Koreans to rise
The number of Koreans visiting Thailand has been
projected to rise 12 percent to 900,000 this year.
Thailand’s Kasikorn Research Centre estimated the
increase would generate an additional 2.5 billion baht (US$634.6 million) in
tourism receipts - a 16 percent rise year-on-year. Some 800,000 Koreans
visited Thailand last year.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand reported that in the
first half of 2005, the Korean market was the Kingdom’s fourth biggest
behind Malaysia, Japan and Singapore. (TTG Asiaa)
Dubai Aerospace expects $ 2b sales-running airports
Aftab H. Kola
eTN Middle East
Dubai: Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, which plans to offer
aviation services ranging from aircraft leasing to airport operations, said
it expected to generate sales of up to $2 billion by 2016 by running
airports in Asia.
The state-backed firm launched last week its entry into
the aerospace industry equipped with $ 15 billion in investment funds.
“We would like to reach sales of $ 2 billion within 10
years,” Dubai Aerospace project director Rashid Al Malek told reporters at
the Asian Aerospace air show.
The Dubai company aims to develop new airports in
Asia’s emerging markets, through deals to build and operate airports under
one contract. Its business could also include expanding and managing
The group’s managing director, Mohammad Al Zar-ouni,
told Reuters on Wed-nesday that he expected to win contracts to run airports
in India, Asia’s third-biggest economy, this year.
Al Malek said the company could be listed on the stock
market at some point but this depended on its owners.
He declined to say when he expected the group to make a
The group’s founders are the government of Dubai, its
investment arm Dubai International Capital, property developer Emaar
Properties, private investment firm Istithmar, mortgage lender Amlak
Finance, the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority and the Dubai International
Financial Centre, a financial free-zone.