Ministry needs RM300m more to boost tourist arrivals from China, India, says Nazri

Malay Mail

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Minister of Tourism and Culture Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said his ministry needed an additional RM300 million for tourism promotional activities. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — The Tourism and Cultural Ministry (MOTAC) is seeking another RM300 million from the government to boost Malaysia’s tourism industry especially to woo tourists from India and China.

Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the additional budget was needed for tourism promotional activities especially advertisement.

“We hope that the government will give us the additional budget in order to do promotions because Malaysia is among Asean’s touristic countries.. compared to Thailand and Vietnam, they have bigger promotion budget, especially for tourists from China and India.

“We are grateful that the government recognised the pressing need for better visa services to attract more Chinese and Indian tourists, but the awareness and to advertise our products are also a must... So we need more money to achieve that,” he told reporters after launching the 6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism here, today.

In the Budget 2018, the ministry was given an allocation of RM500 million to be used for development and promotion activities by improving tourist facilities, homestay and eco-tourism programmes.

Mohamed Nazri said the RM500 million allocation under Budget 2018 was ‘tight’ due to the debts from the past two years on advance bookings for tourism promotional activities.

“Our ministry’s budget is different than others... We need to pay deposit in advance booking for space to advertise our products. When the government reduced the budget from RM200 million for promotional activities over the past years, we were just left with no more than RM110 million.

“The RM500 million under the Budget (2018) was actually to pay our debts for the advance bookings from year 2015-2017, so we need another RM300 million to advertise and promote our tourism products,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nazri in his opening speech said the 6th Summit themed ‘Sustainable and Competitive Tourism on the New Urban Agenda’, serves as a platform to share experience, to brainstorm ideas and to propose direction for sustainable tourism development, smart cities and urban planning for the future.

“The movement of responsible tourism is rapidly gaining momentum among tourists, and travellers are becoming more aware of their ecological footprint. The ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2030 should remain at the heart of how we navigate our industry in the future. Hence, we need to harness the power of public, private and people partnerships to work together as facilitators in achieving the SDGs,” he said.

The summit held from today until Wednesday, features more than 600 local and international key players in the tourism sector, policymakers and experts. — Bernama