Tourism Malaysia has laid out plans to bring the nation’s tourism sector out from the shadow of COVID-19. According to a recent statement, the country will kick-start its international promotion efforts from September this year.
The strategy for tourism in Malaysia includes leveraging social media and overseas offices to disseminate information on Health Ministry efforts to flatten the curve in Malaysia, focusing on protective measures taken by the hospitality industry in an effort to restore confidence and ease fears among prospective travellers.
To keep essential infrastructure ticking over in the interim, Tourism Malaysia plans to inject resources into domestic tourism. “The board’s first priority is to refocus on domestic tourism to increase demand for the travel trade and related services, including airlines, accommodation, land transportation, retail and F&B,” said Musa Yusof, who is director-general at Tourism Malaysia, at Tourism Virtual Summit; a webinar organised by Tourism Productivity Nexus, supported by Malaysia Productivity Corporation and held online on 7th April, 2020.
During the webinar, Musa outlined his vision for the industry over the coming year, sharing expert projections for coming tourism trends. Post COVID-19, Musa foresees growth in the demand for FIT travel and experiential tourism, as tourists are expected to be averse to participating in group tours. Social distancing will still be both necessary and prominent in the public consciousness, causing many travellers to shun places and activities where crowds are expected.
To meet these new demands, Tourism Malaysia will organise familiarisation trips for key opinion leaders and media outlets specialising in niche segments that show promising growth, such as sports tourism, agro tourism and health tourism.
As containment measures have their desired effect and restrictions begin to be lifted, Tourism Malaysia is planning to work together with industry partners and international agents to organise both physical and virtual travel fairs. Leveraging the “Malaysia, Truly Asia” slogan, Tourism Malaysia intends to re-position the nation as a premier location for international travel in the region.
To fund the post-pandemic recovery, Tourism Malaysia is expanding its budget, with particular emphasis on international trade fairs. The board will expand its matching grant for trade fair attendees from RM15,000 to RM35,000 (US$8,040), thereby encouraging greater participation and promotion across the board. According to Musa, the recovery plan also includes joint promotions and campaigns with airline partners and outbound travel operators overseas, some of which had been put on hold due to COVID-19. The plans include international carriers such as Turkish Airways, Emirates and Etihad, along with local flyers Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.
Tourism Malaysia have also confirmed that support for tour operators will be introduced at a later stage in the recovery plan, for both overseas tour operators selling Malaysia and their inbound counterparts.