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Tourism Industry in Malaysia the Experience and Challenge

Tourism Industry in Malaysia the Experience and Challenge

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Study and explore the challenges faced by Malaysian Tourism
Study and explore the challenges faced by Malaysian Tourism

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Published by: Subang Jaya Youth Club on Jul 06, 2013
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TOURISM INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA : THE EXPERIENCE AND THECHALLENGERobiah Hj. Suratman
Department of Land Administration and DevelopmentFaculty Geoinformation and Real EstateUniversity Technology of Malaysia, Skudai Johor MALAYSIA.
Introduction
Tourism has become one of the world
s largest and fastest growing industries. Thetourism industry is globally a rapid growing industry and contributes to the economicenhancement as well as generates employment opportunities, apart from contributes to thedevelopment, especially in a developing country like Malaysia. The international touristarrivals worldwide for the year 2005 was 806 million with Asia Pacific receiving 155million tourists, and the international arrivals is expected to reach 1.0 billion by 2010(NMP,2006:199). The rapid growth is seen as a huge potential for further advancement of the industry, and thus strengthening
of the nation‟s economy
through it.
The Background
Malaysia is a South East Asian country which coversan area of about 336,700 square kilometer andconsists of West and East Malaysia. West Malaysia is bordered by Thailand to the north, Singapore to thesouth, South China Sea to the east, and Straits of Malacca to the west. While, East Malaysia shares itssouthern border with Indonesia, and is cradled by theSouth China Sea to the west and north, and the SuluSea to the northeast.Malaysia is made up of the 13 states, namely Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka,Johor, Pahang, Pulau Pinang, Kedah, Perlis, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak along with three Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan. Malaysia'scapital city is Kuala Lumpur while the new administrative center is in Putrajaya.With the population of 23 million, whichconsists of Malays (57%), Chinese (30%),Indians (8%) and indigenous people, Malaysia become an exotic blend of cultures and multi-racial population which practices variousreligions such as Islam, Buddhism, Taoism,Hinduism and Christianity. All this cultureshave influenced each other, creating a trulyMalaysian culture.
 
 
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Like other developing countries, Malaysia is rich with diverse natural attractions which become
an asset to the country‟s tourism industry. This is recognized by
the World Travel& Tourism Council (WTTC), who declared Malaysia as;
“a destination full of 
unrealized
 potential”
 with the main strength as the availability of a vast range of diverse attractions to suit alltastes; relatively affordable prices and; largely unspoilt destination (NTP, 2004 : 10).The geographic location of Malaysia, surrounded by sea, has made its rich withsurrounding
islands‟
attractions in the form of well-preserved nature, white sandy beach,diverse sea creatures and beautiful corals. On the other hand, the larger part of Malaysianland, especially Sabah dan Sarawak is covered with Tropical rainforest which holdshundreds of thousands of animal species, many of which are unique to the region and theworld. These include 286 species of mammals, 736 species of birds, 406 species of amphibians and reptiles and more than 100,000 species of insects (The Encylopedia of Malaysia, 1998)Malaysia is also abound in historical monuments such as old buildings from the era of Portuguese and Britishcolonization, especially in the cities like Kuala Lumpur,Melaka, Pulau Pinang and Taiping. In addition, there arealso the remains of ancient settlements like the mousoleumand settlement of Lembah Bujang Kedah and pre-historiccemetery of Gua Niah Sarawak.Malaysia is experiencing a rapid development rate as a developingcountry, parallel with 
the nation‟s economic
growth.Implementationof large scale projects and of world standard such as the PetronasTwin Tower and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) had brought credit
to the nation‟s tourism industry
. The 88-storeyPetronas Twin Tower with the height of 452 meters, is known as theworld's tallest freestanding twin tower  and serves as a landmark for  Malaysia. While KLIA which is capable of handling hundreds of international flights per day, is recognized as one of the bestinternational airports. Other tourism products include leisure and sports- related activities as well as business-related events.
Tourism Industry In Malaysia
 
 
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Tourism industry in Malaysia started from the early 1970s and has become the secondhighest foreign exchange earner for the country after the manufacturing sector (NTP2004-2010 Main Report, 2004. pg 9). The sector is predicted to grow at the rate of 6.9% per year and contribute almost RM30 billion
to the nation‟s economy
(Bernama News, 19Mac, 2004). In the early growth of the industry, tourism was more focussed at beachresorts as a destination for relaxation. It was in the 1990s that it extended to include other attractions like shopping, events, theme park and nature-based. The main markets for Malaysia tourism are the neighbouring ASEAN countries especially Singapore, Thailand,Brunei and Indonesia. While others include Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, China,Taiwan, India, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States of America. The Malaysian tourism industry had undergone multiple challenges before assuming its position in the world tourism destination map, abreast of the other popular destinationsworldwide. The unstable world politics, SARS and challenge posed by the other ASEAN countries competing to draw tourists had initiated Malaysia to set its own strategy indiversifying the tourist attractions. Various studies were undertaken to identify the tourism demand characteristics andinternational trend apart from define the potential products to be promoted. As such,Malaysia had increased the tourism promotions, arranged various programmes andevents, as well as diversified and upgraded the tourism-related facilities. 
“Malaysia Truly Asia”
is the tagline which is internationally recognized as a uniquelyMalaysian brand to promote tourism in Malaysia. The branding first established 1999 hadalso played a major role as the marketing strategy to highlight the Malaysia uniquecharacteristics. The uniqueness portrayed through
“Malaysia Tru
l
y Asia”
 is the diversityof tourism products offered which comprise almost all of the attractions that exist in theother Asian countries. Greater emphasis was placed on attracting tourists from the short-haul and regional markets of ASEAN, China, India, Japan and West Asia.
Tourism Promotion Programs In Malaysia and the Achievements
Visit Malaysia Year Campaign 
Visit Malaysia Year Campaign which was started in 1990 became the starting point for the expansion of the
country‟s tourism industry
. It succeeded in attractingaround 7.45 million international tourists (Rajah 1)compared to 4.85 million in the previous year. Due to thesuccess, the Visit Malaysia Year Campaign was repeatedin 1994 and 2007. Visit Malaysia Year 2007 waslaunched in conjunction with the celebration of 50 yearsof Malaysian independence,whereby 240 events and festivals were organized throughoutthe year. These include the floral festival, cultural performances, Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival, National Water Festival, Colours of Malaysia, PenangInternational Lantern Festival, Gawai Dayak and Borneo cultural festival, Colour andFlavours of Malaysia parade and World Firework Competition. With the variety of events

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