KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia will host three mega shopping carnivals to draw in tourists for Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and to meet the targeted RM44 billion (US$12 billion) tourism receipts during Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
The shopping frenzy kicks off with the Kuala Lumpur Grand Prix City Sale from March 24 to April 22 in conjunction with the Petronas Formula One Grand Prix, followed by the Mega Sale Carnival from June 15 to Sept 2 and the Year End Sale from December 1 to January 1, 2008.
Tourism minister Tengku Datuk Seri Adnan Tengku Mansor said the biggest foreign spenders were tourists from Qatar, Pakistan and Kuwait, with average spending of RM4,500 per person.
Shopping contributes RM7.7 billion or 20.8 percent of the RM31.9 billion tourism receipts last year. The ministry is expecting 20.1 million tourists for VMY 2007.
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IN 2000, the Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry decided to turn Malaysia into a leading shopping paradise in Asia.
The key strategy was the introduction of the nationwide Mega Sale Carnival that was held thrice a year — in March, August and December.
The then minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said the tri-annual sale frequency is a reminder that there is an emerging international shopping destination in the region. He said holding it thrice a year also shows the sense of urgency in achieving this target as Malaysia is behind the leading shopping destinations in the region. In the event the sales are held less frequently, they will widen the gap between Malaysia and the other shopping destinations.
Following feedback from retailers that the three nationwide sales were one too many, the Tourism Ministry under Datuk Dr Leo Michael Toyad decided to hold the nationwide sale once a year. Instead, two other regionwide sales, covering the northern and southern Peninsular Malaysia, were held at different times of the year.
What we have now is three nationwide sales carrying three different names — Grand Prix (in March), Mega Sale (August/September) and Year End Sale (December).
Spending but not shopping enoughFOREIGN tourists spend only about 20 per cent annually on shopping in Malaysia.
The bulk of the spending is on accommodation, which makes up about 30 per cent of total spending here although average room rates of hotels in Malaysia is one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, in the world.
In contrast, destinations which already enjoy international shopping status see more being spent on shopping compared to accommodation, although hotel rates in the same star category could be at least three times more.
A Mastercard International Insights research on ‘Kuala Lumpur as a Travel-Shopping Destination’ in the third quarter of 2005 indicated the Malaysian capital had the lowest spending among key shopping centres in Asia at 22 per cent.
This compares with Singapore’s 53 per cent, Hong Kong’s 50 per cent and Seoul’s 45 per cent. The report also stated that in order for Kuala Lumpur to compete successfully as a shopping centre, it has to move upmarket to become a premium hub for shopping, as being "inexpensive" may no longer be enough.
"Only by going upmarket can Kuala Lumpur be successfully re-positioned, thus avoiding comparison with either Bangkok, China or India," the report added.
Source : TravelWeekly New Strait Times
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