Malacca tourism industry to thrive in spite of Tourism Malaysia office closure

Sepang, MALAYSIA — The unexpected closure of Tourism Malaysia offices nationwide, including in Malacca, will not affect the state’s tourism industry, its Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said today.

He said Malacca’s tourism office is well established, with complete facilities to carry out its own tourism marketing and promotions.

“The closure of (Tourism Malaysia’s office) will not have an effect on us, because Tourism Malacca (is) able to stand alone.

“Tourism Malaysia had acted as a medium to relay the ministry’s (initiatives) in promoting tourism. Without the office, we could get the information straight from (Tourism Malaysia’s) website,” he told reporters at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) today.

However, he urged the federal government to provide a concrete reason for the abrupt closure of all Tourism Malaysia offices.

Last week, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz announced the closure of 14 Tourism Malaysia offices throughout the country to avoid job duplication with state agencies in promoting tourist attractions.

Idris was today met at an event marking Tourism Malacca’s collaboration with Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAHB) at the KLIA and klia2, where elements of Malacca, such as dances and cultural shows, are being showcased to attract tourists to the state.

He and MAHB managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali welcomed hundreds of Chinese tourists, who arrived via China Southern Airlines Flight CZ349, at the arrival gate of the airport.

Idris said the collaboration will see Tourism Malacca’s dance troupes and folk singers performing at specific times at both airports for 25 days until Feb 15.

The state’s iconic features, such as Beca Malacca (trishaw), will also be on display at the terminals, he added. Idris said Malacca targets 16.75 million tourists this year, 500,000 more than 2016.

“In 2016, the state saw an increase of 472, 692 tourists, or 53.77 per cent from the previous year. “This year, we are also focusing on Chinese tourists, who made up 1.35 million, or 8.3 per cent, of total arrivals (in Malaysia last year).

We are looking at increasing the number of Chinese tourists to 1.5 million,” he said. Tourism Malacca has also launched ‘Destination Melaka’ – a mobile tourism application to promote the state to tourists, especially locals, Idris added.

“With this application, users are able to get our latest travel information and an update on hotel accommodations, tourist attractions, places of interest, events, festivals, deals and promotions.

“Mobile users can also play virtual games through the app, such as ‘Melaka 755 Quest’. Players are required to identify as many as 755 tourist attractions through the game,” he added. Besides the virtual app, Idris said Tourism Malacca has 159 events schedule for this year, with 18 major events set to uplift the state’s tourism industry.