Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the national tourism industry should not only be developed in general but a special niche market should be looked into that can enhance the industry's potentials and attraction.
The Prime Minister said that last year, Malaysia had recorded a very encouraging tourism growth and the country was among only three nations in the world to record an increase in tourist arrivals.
"The Tourism Ministry estimated that we have received 23.6 million tourists, which yielded a total of RM53.4 billion in revenue," he said when launching the Philea Resort and Spa at Ayer Keroh, here Saturday night. He said the figure was significantly higher than the 5.5 million tourists and a revenue of RM8.5 billion recorded in 1998.
Najib said the tourism industry had contributed nine percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the industry was among 11 sectors that had been identified as National Key Economic Activities (NKEA). By 2015, the industry is expected to contribute RM115 billion to the GDP and create two million job opportunities.
The Prime Minister said the government planned to attract 'quality tourists' who would stay eight nights and spend between RM4,000 and RM5,000 on the average per trip. Currently, the tourists generally stayed an average of 6.7 nights and spent RM2,300 per trip.
On the tourism industry in Melaka which is considered to have great potentials, Najib said that under the 10th Malaysia Plan, the government had approved an allocation for a further extension of the 'Melaka River Cruise". The Sungai Melaka tourism project currently stretches for about four kilometers from Taman Rempah and ending at the Quayside, at the Sungai Melaka Estuary.
The Philea Resort and Spa is the largest log resort in Asia, developed on a six-hectare site at a cost of RM140 million and owned by Majestic Hotels and Resorts Sdn Bhd.
Source : Bernama
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