Malaysia recorded tourist arrivals of 23.5 million last year – more than its initial target of 19 million despite a global decline in the industry due to the economic downturn and other challenges.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the industry earned about RM51bil in tourism receipts and with such an optimistic outlook, the time was right for Malaysia to take full advantage of its next wave of growth.
“I look forward to seeing the tourism industry in Malaysia flourish with fresh ideas and high quality products, service standards beyond regular expectation and value-added incentives that no traveller can resist,” he said in his speech at the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2008/2009 presentation here last night.
The text of the speech was read out by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Also present were Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
Najib also said that the Government would allocate RM899mil for the industry this year to, among others, upgrade its infrastructure, train local frontliners, develop more attractive tourism products and events.
He expressed confidence that the services sector with its great growth potential would drive the economy further, adding that the Government aimed to see it expand by 3.6% this year and contribute 60% to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.
“With the creation of meaningful and high-value products, accompanied by excellent quality service, I have no doubt the industry will be able to attract greater numbers of high net worth tourists willing to pay a premium price for first-rate experience,” he said.
Najib said the tourism industry needed to support the Government’s commitment towards addressing climate change issues, adding that he was pleased to note that some industry players were already making concrete efforts to be environmentally responsible.
Dr Ng said Malaysia’s success in exceeding tourist arrival target was a result of commitment and dedication from all of the industry players, adding that the success was not by chance but through creative marketing, prudent investment and high quality product.
Forty-six awards were presented, including the Prime Minister’s Special Award which was given to former Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.
Source : STAR
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