Domestic tourism: Making a ‘Malaysian flavoured’ informative society

Tourism is a major economic activity for the nation. In fact, more than RM 50 billion is recorded as income for the nation from this sector, which saw more than 24 million visitors expected. No of hotel rooms is for 3 to 5 star hotels are 161,000 and the average occupancy is over 70%. Business is expected to grow steep that in ten years time, the number of visitors is expected to be 36 million.

The Edge report:

Malaysia needs 50% more rooms for more tourist arrivals, says deputy tourism minister

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By Lam Jian Wyn of theedgeproperty.com
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 15:48 Bookmark and Share

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will need to raise the number of hotel rooms in the country by about 50% to cater for a targeted growth in tourist arrivals to 36 million by 2020, said Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit.

“We will look at progression (of tourist arrivals). If we have that number of tourists we will need to build that many rooms,” he told reporters on Wednesday, Mar 30.

Mamit said as at February, there were 1,610 hotels nationwide ranked from 3-stars to 5-stars earlier with a total 161,117 rooms, in his speech earlier before the launch of the InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, formerly the Nikko Hotel.

In the city alone, there were 236 hotels with 30,000 rooms, he added.

“We hope to have enough rooms… Probably (increase by) about 50% more hotel rooms, but by when (we) don’t know, it depends on investors,” he said.

He had noted that the average occupancy rates for hotels across the countries fell by 1.6% to 59.3% in 2010 from a year ago, venturing that tourists are moving towards homestay programmes.

He pointed out that last year, Malacca had recorded the highest number of tourists without offering a figure.

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As the average stay of tourists in Malaysia is longer and the retail spending is also commensurating with the longer stay, the income opportunity is very encouraging. As such, every opportunity to highlight and push forward Malaysian brands and locally developed products and services should be capitalised and maximised.  Regardless, its the government or the private sector initiatives themselves.

A lot to be gained from this growth.

Most of these 3-to-5 star hotels offer Astro channels for the viewing pleasure of their guests and patrons, at no extra charge. Of course, most of the hotels which offered Astro channels go for minimal sprectrum where there is probablytwo to four international news channel, one or two documentary channels, one or two sports channels and one or two cartoon channels on top of the usual free TV channels which include RTM 1, RTM 2, TV3, NTV 7 and probably TV 9.

Some of the higher end luxury hotels offer more international news channels, which include the popular international business networks.

This is important as the guests and patrons of these hotels needed to be updated on what is going on all over the world and it is fashionable to go there popular news network, on top of the internet.

What baffle us is that, why these hotels failed to work with Astro is providing local news network such as Astro Awani and Bernama TV to their guests and patrons. These channels usually comes with minimal Astro package for homes.

It is important for these locally produced news channels be alleviated to the same level as the internal ones such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, CCTV, NHK and other popular brands. Particularly for the 3-to-5 star hotels. Even though most of these hotels are part of international chains and brands, it would be an added effort for them to assist in alleviating a locally developed channel especially for their guests. Be it domestic or international, they should be given more choices for being informative.

After all, these hotels could also help to familiarise their international guests with Bahasa Malaysia, in the form of 24 hours news channels where the presentation is short, crisp, accurate and most of all, informative served in the Malaysian flavour at its best. The aspiration of Malaysians from any issues newsworthiness, is presented in the national language.

Ministry of Tourism and Information, Communication and Multimedia should really take serious note of this. Especially when one of these Ministers is bent on promoting more extensive use of Bahasa Malaysia, especially in the commercial and business activities.

If the average occupancy is 70% of 161,000 rooms translate to 112,000 for any given day and an assumption of 40% of these guests and patrons are visitors, then any average day there would be an opening to the probable of 45,000 viewers for the promotion of Malaysian news brands and naturally, Bahasa Malaysia. If a third of them browse through the news channels, then the probable number of viewers for these said channels would be at the neighbourhood of 5.4 million. Imagine the business trickle and multiplying effect from this.

That is a very substantial number to be ignored.

Published in: on June 18, 2011 at 23:46  Comments (11)