Tourism in­dus­try fly­ing high

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - DAULAT TUANKU SULTAN JOHOR - Y nelson@ thes­tar. com. my

THE state’s tourism in­dus­try con­tin­ues to chart a steady growth with al­most 6.42 mil­lion vis­i­tors last year com­pared with 3.7 mil­lion four years ago.

The present weak­ened cur­rency is bring­ing about more op­por­tu­ni­ties for tourism in­dus­try play­ers from Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore to work to­gether.

Jo­hor Tourism, Do­mes­tic Trade and Con­sumerism com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said that one night’s stay in Sin­ga­pore was ac­tu­ally equiv­a­lent to three- days stay in Jo­hor for the same level of ser­vice. “There is huge po­ten­tial. It has been in­creas­ing for the past few years.

“We also would like to thank the Fed­eral govern­ment for al­low­ing China tourists visa ex­emp­tion as this will draw more vis­i­tors, es­pe­cially Chi­nese tourists, vis­it­ing Sin­ga­pore.

“Re­cently, we had dozens of tourist buses in the Se­cond Link daily,” he said, adding that this al­lowed Chi­nese busi­ness­men who visit Sin­ga­pore to hop over to Jo­hor. He ex­pressed hope that the Fed­eral govern­ment would re­view the poli­cies from time to time to help boost tourism.

Tee ex­plained that lo­cal play­ers could work with their Sin­ga­pore tourism play­ers to come up with at­trac­tive tour pack­ages such as a 6D/ 5N pack­age to visit Sin­ga­pore and Jo­hor.

“Peo­ple can also use our train ser­vices, which saves time es­pe­cially with the in­crease to 22 trips daily be­tween Jo­hor and Sin­ga­pore,” he said, adding that the Te­brau Shut­tle was pop­u­lar not just among lo­cals, but also Sin­ga­pore­ans.

He added that lo­cal tour com­pa­nies should come up with pack­ages where tourists from Sin­ga­pore could en­ter Jo­hor Baru via the train ser­vice and have tour buses pick them up at JB Sen­tral, lo­cated in the heart of the city.

“This can save time and cost as tourists will not have to waste time be­ing stuck in traf­fic on the Cause­way,” he said, adding that the re­cent In­ter­na­tional Kite Fes­ti­val in Pasir Gu­dang, JB Arts Fes­ti­val and the an­nual Chin­gay pro­ces­sion, were great at­trac­tions both for the lo­cals and vis­i­tors from abroad.

“Even the Jo­hor Ruler was im­pressed with the high turnout and the warm re­cep­tion that he re­ceived from the rakyat,” he added.

Tee said that the in­dus­try play­ers re­ally needed to trans­form as they can­not be pas­sive.

“We have a lot of good prod­ucts. We also have an op­por­tu­nity to work with Sin­ga­pore. They should cap­i­talise on it,” he said.

Tee added that they should pro­mote at­trac­tions that Sin­ga­pore did not have such as beau­ti­ful is­lands off the coast of Jo­hor, wetlands, which are the se­cond largest in the world, and na­tional parks, which were hun­dreds of years old.

“It is a good time for play­ers from both coun­tries to team up as Sin­ga­pore is sup­port­ive of this col­lab­o­ra­tion,” he added.

Tee added that in­dus­try play­ers should also take ad­van­tage of the weak cur­rency, in­clud­ing com­ing up with in­no­va­tive ideas.

He added that the state govern­ment was se­ri­ous about de­vel­op­ing tourism in Jo­hor and that was the main rea­son for them to have a 10- year com­pre­hen­sive tourism de­vel­op­ment plan.

He added that this in­dus­try had a lot of spin- offs, in­clud­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for a lot of peo­ple such as tour guides, taxi driv­ers, plus oper­a­tors of shops, restau- rants and shop­ping com­plexes.

Asked on the im­pact of the MH370 and MH17 plane crashes, Tee ac­knowl­edged that th­ese two in­ci­dents have caused some tourist ar­rival num­bers from China to dip.

How­ever, they have taken ini­tia­tives to or­gan­ise trips to China to woo not just their in­vestors but also tourists.

“I have been or­gan­is­ing many trips to China with govern­ment of­fi­cers, politi­cians and in­dus­try play­ers to en­gage and have busi­ness match­ing with the peo­ple there.

“I have an ad­van­tage when in China as they were sur­prised when they heard me con­vers­ing in Man­darin, as they thought Malaysians only speak Malay,” he added.

He said that they also man­aged to get a pop­u­lar China- based re­al­ity show to con­duct their video shoot­ing at eight pop­u­lar lo­ca­tions in Jo­hor, namely Pu­lau Sibu, De­saru, Legoland, Air Masin Kukup and also in Kluang.

“All this has helped peo­ple to know more about Jo­hor.”

One of the par­tic­i­pants, Bern­hard Ding­w­erth, from Ger­many fly­ing his kite at the 21st World Kite Fes­ti­val at Bukit Layang- Layang in Pasir Gu­dang on Feb 28, 2016. — Ab­dul rah­man Embong / The star

Groups of tourists out­side the main en­trance at Legoland Malaysia in Jo­hor.

Largest man­grove around the wetlands iden­ti­fied in Pu­lau Kukup Jo­hor na­tional Park in Pon­tian.

Jo­hor ruler sul­tan Ibrahim Ibni Al­marhum sul­tan Iskan­dar hit­ting a Chi­nese drum to launch the Chin­gay cel­e­bra­tion in Jo­hor Baru this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.