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Malaysia to use tech to boost tourism

Malaysia will embark on a comprehensive digitalisation journey to transform its tourism industry with smart tourism initiatives in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), according to the nation’s Prime Minister.

By embracing the whole spectrum of digitalisation, the country will be able to provide the necessary tools for the tourism industry to be internationally connected, perform rigorous data analytics of tourism futures and shorten the supply chain.

For all these to materialise, a new investment climate is pertinent for a conducive environment to enable the technology-centred tourism industry to charge forward. Investment in hard and soft infrastructure needs to be balanced.

National policies need to allow for investment incentives in more intangible products such as data acquisition, content creation and online platform presence.

Industry stakeholders are venturing even more actively into sharing the economy, digital platform, social media integration, as well as big data analytics to customise tourism experience offerings to specific demographics across the globe.

The digitalisation of the sector is also crucial because technological advancement has also led consumers to utilise mobile devices and online platforms to access information, arrange, book and plan an entire holiday, he said.

In addition, specific incentives are now being formulated to attract both hard infrastructure investment as well as new technology-based investment in the tourism sector.

The tourism industry should also be the catalyst for environmental protection, preservation, and conservation of local culture and heritage. This will ensure that the wealth from tourism is spread widely to reach even the remote communities that offer unique experiences to the tourists.

As such, one area where this can be achieved is through sustainable ecotourism development.

Ecotourism is a high-value sub-sector that offers genuine experience and adventure that is unique to a particular locality. Naturally, due to its scarcity, it has the potential to become a premier destination, which brings in high-value tourists.

Ecotourism conservation can enrich tourists’ experience and fulfil their sense of responsibility in giving back to nature — which again will attract high-spending visitors, contributing to the increase in revenue.

Technology incentives for eco-tour package development, eco-resort building design and innovative business processes can be considered by governments and implemented by destination managers and tour operators.

With its over-130 million-year-old pristine rainforests, beaches, islands, spectacular natural wonders, and national parks; and diverse people, Malaysia is a preferred eco-tourism destination in the world.

Through its National Ecotourism Plan 2016-2025, the country is developing cluster-based ecotourism destinations with special concession packages that inculcate the use of technology and smart eco-management of destinations.

The government is committed to exploring new avenues through technology transformation in tourism and smart destination management to educate industry players, tourists and the local community.

Recently, Tourism Malaysia has forces with an American global travel technology company on two tourism collaborative pacts to attract more tourists to Malaysia.

Aligned with Tourism Malaysia’s promotion strategies, the first agreement is a Memorandum of Collaboration to promote Malaysia as an outstanding tourist destination by showcasing the country’s unique wonders, attractions and cultures, as well as support tourism industry digital innovation.

In the second agreement, both parties would embark on the firm’s global campaign to promote inbound travel from Australia, Japan and the US to Malaysia. These three markets are the biggest points of sales for the firm.

As part of the overall collaboration, Tourism Malaysia and Expedia Group will also launch a series of key workshops in Malaysia to foster tourism industry digital innovation. Workshops for local hotel partners will include ways to leverage the Expedia Group’s Partner Central platform to accelerate skills development and build revenue and hotel management capabilities among local SME hotels.


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