KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5& — Tourism has moved from the conventional sight-and-feel experiences to more holistic and responsible holidaying.
“Today, it is no longer merely sun, sand and sea type of tourism. Tourists are becoming more demanding and more engaged in different types of responsible tourism such as eco, cultural, conservation and volunteer tourism,’’ Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said.
He said Malaysia is also at the forefront of mainstream tourism in the national development agenda.
“Towards this end, tourism is currently our second highest contributor in terms of foreign exchange earnings, and third in terms of contribution to Gross National Income,” he said at the launch of the 6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism yesterday.
Nazri said more should be done to give priority towards sustainable tourism development.
“This significant conference is indeed timely as tourism brings new patterns and changes to the urban landscape. As metropolitan areas expand rapidly, the public and private sectors face radical changes as well as&
significant opportunities,” he said.
This is the first time the summit is being hosted outside of Europe.
Nazri said the decision to host the summit in Kuala Lumpur is appropriate as the capital has emerged as a major destination for urban tourism.
“This is in contrast with the rest of the country which is better known for its unique heritage and living culture, beautiful scenery, beaches, majestic rainforests and mountains,” he said.
In addition, the industry in Malaysia has been identified as one of the National Key Economic Areas to propel the country’s economic transformation,&
“In this regard, the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) was formulated and implemented in 2011 to achieve the targets of 36 million international tourist arrivals generating US$40.8 billion (RM168 billion) in receipts by 2020.
“The MTTP is expected to transform the tourism landscape to be more vibrant and competitive, with tourist arrivals increasing 1.5 times and tourist expenditure expanding three times by 2020.”
The theme of the summit is “Sustainable and Competitive Tourism on the New Urban Agenda”.