This year 2009, is a big challenged for Melaka because we have less than 300 days to become developed state in year 2010. For tourism sector, definitely going to be the major contribution to Melaka economies after the manufacturing sector. In this economic crisis, most of the tourist destination have already set their tourist arrivals target lower for 2009. But, in Melaka we are different. We stilll confident to set high target with increasing about 2.78% compared last year (2008). So, this year we are targeting 7.4 million tourists come to Melaka compared 7.2 millions last year.
Below is Melaka achievement in year 2008:-
Total tourist arrivals = 7,205,492
Domestic tourists = 6,004,105 (83.3%)
Foreign tourists = 1,201,387 (16.7%)
The top 5 countries visit Melaka in year 2008 :
1. Singapore = 236,763 (19.7%)
2. China = 188,683 (15.7%)
3. Indonesia = 106,612 (8.9%)
4. Hong Kong = 44,030 (3.7%)
5. Vietnam = 35,129 (2.9%)
Read more in Star Online (Star Publication (M) Bhd)
This 2009 is definitely going to be a tough year for the tourism industry across the world as the worsening economic crisis causes long-haul visitors to stay home and regional travellers to cut short their trips to cut back on spending.
And bracing for the challenges ahead, most tourism authorities across the Asian region have already set their tourist-arrival targets lower for 2009.
For instance, Hong Kong is expecting a shortfall of 1.6% in tourist arrivals for 2009 compared with 29.5 million in 2008, while Singapore anticipates its tourist arrivals this year to fall between 9 and 9.5 million, compared with 10.1 million last year. For Thailand, where tourism is one of the pillar industries to the economy, the number of foreign visitors is expected to fall from 14.24 million last year to 14 million in 2009.
In line with the regional trend, Malaysia’s tourist-arrival target of 20 million for 2009 represents a decline of 9% from the numbers achieved last year.
Azalina … I have always reiterated my idea of “two countries, one destination”. Singapore should not
be seen as a competitor, but as a partner.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman in an interview with StarBizWeek recently says aggressive and targeted campaigns to promote Malaysia to the world would be her ministry’s defensive mode against falling short of the “lowered” tourist-arrival target for this year.
But while the Tourism Ministry endeavours to “sell Malaysia” aggressively to foreigners, Azalina points out that it is going to take a concerted effort by everyone in the country to make tourism Malaysia a greater success.
Undoubtedly, by merely looking at the figures, one can say Malaysia’s tourism industry has come a long way since 1998 to where it is today.
Total tourist arrivals and receipts had grown from 5.5 million people and RM8.6bil, respectively, in 1998, to 22.05 million tourists with total receipts estimated at RM48.5bil last year.
About half of the tourists visiting Malaysia are from its neighbour Singapore – a natural tendency, given the close proximity and easy access to move between both countries.
Similarly, Hong Kong’s tourist arrivals are dominated by Mainland Chinese, who represent 57.1% of its total foreign visitors last year.
An industry observer points out that it does not really matter where our tourists come from as long as they contribute to the income of the country. He says: “At the end of the day, it is all about the money.”