KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 ― Domestic tourism should be encouraged among Malaysians as it not only saves money but can also boost the country’s economic recovery and promote tourist spots to all Malaysians.
Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) (Perak Chapter) president Law Weng Sum said on MCTA’s part the association is actively working hand-in-hand with the Perak state government to lay out plans for Visit Perak Year 2024 as among efforts to promote domestic tourism.
“Besides tourist spots, our itineraries include food trails throughout the state. We’ve also proposed establishing a tour group solely focused on hunting for various types of food the country has to offer.
“Apart from promoting local eateries, the initiative helps attract tourists from Asian countries like China, Taiwan and Hong Kong who are mostly foodies and have keen tastebuds,” he told Bernama when contacted today.
Law also requested that the government impose a temporary price ceiling for domestic flight tickets to prevent them from soaring up during festive periods such as the upcoming Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
“On the other hand, the government could partially subsidise the price of tickets and the public do not need to pay a high price, subsequently encouraging them to go on domestic tours, which in turn poses an advantage to the economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Tourism Federation (MTF) secretary-general Dr Sri Ganesh Michiel said the government should consider promoting local budget hotels as part of the economic low-range tour packages for the locals while high-end packages including four or five-star hotels for international tourists.
Sri Ganesh, who’s also Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association’s (MyBHA) national president, took example from Thailand, saying that the country’s tourism sector was thriving and one of the reasons being the government’s heavy promotion of budget hotels in which designs and amenities offered are almost similar to that of five-star hotels, only much cheaper.
“One only needs to pay an average of less than 3,020 baht per night (equivalent to approximately RM400), which is far less than the rate of a five-star hotel that could go up to thousands (ringgit) per night.
“In Malaysia’s context, perhaps the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s (MOTAC) and various agencies could help in the matter of promoting low-range tour packages which play an equally important role in ensuring continuity of the domestic tourism sector,” he said.
Sri Ganesh said Malaysia also needs to solve existing threats to the budget hotel industry, which include short-term rental accommodations such as Airbnb and online travel agencies (OTA) such as Agoda and Traveloka.
He said such platforms remain unregulated due to the absence of relevant laws and thus, prone to listing unlicensed properties offered by third parties for the public to view, which negatively impacts the tourism industry as a whole.
“They can sell illegal premises, they can do anything (without knowing law limitations). For example, they’re selling apartments which were unlicensed for rental accommodations, which is actually a serious issue but nobody knows because people who view such listings on OTA will be satisfied merely by low prices offered, without considering the risks involved stemming from an absence of the law,” he added.
According to Sri Ganesh any laws enacted pertaining to the issue should cover three aspects, which are the rate of commission offered by the respective OTA, prohibition of unlicensed apartment listings and the mandatory representation by a local person-in-charge of a country, such as a lawyer, to deal with the legal side of things. ― Bernama