IN this information technology age, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a click of the mouse.
You can now conveniently book air tickets and plan for your holiday on the Internet.
It also the same with domestic vacation and as such, when Reliance Pacific Bhd's travel division launched Malaysia World that offers a series of local travel packages, it is giving equal attention to the booking portal http://www.malaysiaworld.%20com.my/
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai officiated at the launch held recently at Reliance's headquarters.
“About two weeks ago, it was reported that the United States-based Global Travel Magazine voted Malaysia as the best destination in the world last year. The survey was based on several criteria and there were 15,000 respondents. It is important for us to know our home better,” said Lim.
He said tourism is recognised as the nation's third economic pillar and the second largest source of foreign revenue and that the government has allocated under the Ninth Malaysian Plan RM1.8bil to the tourism industry from last year to 2010.
Domestic tourism, he said, is undoubtedly an important stimulus for the country's economy and has shown healthy growth in recent years following rising household incomes, changing lifestyles, introduction of low-cost carriers and five-day work week for the public sector, among others.
Lim said although Malaysia World was targeting Malaysians, tourists and businessmen are welcomed to visit the site.
“The country's business turnover was RM1 trillion last year. Businessmen who are in the country for several days can make use of such services to explore the country further. This is a very big market,” he said.
Lim also called for collective efforts to give tourists a good impression of the country.
“If you look left and right, there are still a lot of places not clean enough. The ministry is monitoring this closely by heeding to all related complaints highlighted in the media and we want local authorities to look into this, too,” he added.
On another matter, Lim said the ministry has not received any application from Batu Caves' management for RM10mil allocation to beautify the tourist destination and so they could not make any decision yet.
He said the ministry welcomed such applications but they should be done in black and white and better still, through local councils.
Reliance's group chief executive officer Datin Irene Gan said the promotion of domestic tourism is not alien to the company, which operated cruise packages between Penang and Langkawi as early as 1983 and promoted Go Around Malaysia in 1990.
“UN World Tourism Organisation projects an increase in worldwide tourist arrivals to be around 4% but Asean can expect 8% increase.
“Against the backdrop of the forecast, it is timely to have the third instalment of Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) and I believe it will surpass the successes of the previous VMY campaigns held in 1990 and 1994” she said, adding that the country will be able to attract the targeted 20.1mil visitors by end of the year.
“With Malaysia's population of 26mil, the domestic market is a sizable captive market,” she added.
As a start, Malaysia World is offering 300 products and the number is expected to grow to 1,000 by end next year. The products are available from RM55 per person for a two-night package.
The products are grouped according to six lifestyle categories, namely City, Hustle and Bustle, Sun, Sea and Sand, Cool Mountain High, Jungle, Deep and Wild, Walk in the Past, and Just the Two of Us.
Showcase Cities is another category, and Putrajaya and Cyberjaya are the firsts to be highlighted.
In conjunction with the launch, a day trip to Putrajaya is available at RM1 per person for the first 100 customers who book online by Feb 14.
“We are targeting Malaysia World to sell at least 30,000 packages in the first year and double the figure to 60,000 in the following year. Through our online shop, we expect to generate a revenue of RM40mil,” she added.