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Technology Key to Post-Pandemic Tourism in Malaysia
27 August 2020 | Written by Chris Alexander

Malaysian officials have set their sights on social media and are preparing to invest in emerging online technology partnerships, as Malaysia looks to revive its tourism industry following nationwide Covid-19 shutdowns. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is set to roll out major promotional campaigns across multiple social media platforms, while also committing to a landmark research partnership with one of Malaysia’s leading universities. 

According to Jeffrey Kitingan, who is Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk, the use of social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok offer the best route for widespread promotion, for tourism providers and government alike. 

“The tourism industry, whether leisure or business, is especially dependent on social media, given the nature of picturesque images as a point to introduce a destination,” explained the minister in a speech at the Social Media Tourism Conference at the Shangri Hotel here this week. He also confirmed that the ministry is ready to launch a range of “up-to-date tourism promotional campaigns, live feeds or updates on our flagship event destinations and venue promotions.”  

In a recent government study, it was discovered that around 49% of consumers relied on influencers’ recommendations on social media, while 71% were likely to recommend a brand to friends and family through social media following positive experiences. The ministry intends to utilise this growing connectivity and online bias, to leverage a range of upcoming promotional campaigns, designed to highlight various destinations in Malaysia for travel in a post-pandemic tourism landscape. 

This week, Tourism Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) with Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), in a bid to expand their understanding of new technologies and marketing streams, and strengthen cooperation between the university and Malaysia’s tourism promotion agency.  

“This strategic relationship is necessary to strengthen the tourism and hospitality academia and industry linkage,” says Emeritus Professor Datuk Ir. Dr. Mohd Azraai Kassim. He also stated that the partnership will strongly support Tourism Malaysia in the important task of formulating new strategies to ensure the sustainability of the tourism industry, such as catering for the targeted digital market segmentation. 

The MoC will focus on a range of initiatives, all geared towards improving and expanding Tourism Malaysia’s online impact. Operations in the pipeline include exchanging of expertise in relation to Malaysia’s tourism industry; creating opportunities for future joint or allied funding activities; organisation of tourism conferences, short courses and meetings on tourism research issues; and promotion of information and activities through dedicated online campaigns. 

Malaysia continues to secure its tourism infrastructure with Covid-19 safety measures and SOP in preparation for a return to normal operations. Hand-in-hand with these practical developments, the Ministry of Tourism is also committing time and resources to the promotion of Malaysia’s key tourism destinations, while also pushing new attractions and activities that are compatible with the ‘new normal’ of post-pandemic travel.