Minister: Tourism Ministry must improve, innovate to compete with Southeast Asian countries

Tiong (fifth left) in a photo-call with others in Putrajaya. Photo credit: Tiong's Facebook Page

KUCHING, Dec 27: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (Motac) Malaysia needs to improve significantly, address existing issues, stop outdated thinking, and innovate to compete with countries in the Southeast Asian region such as Thailand, Vietnam, and others, says its minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Tiong emphasised in a Facebook post after chairing the Motac 2023 Budget Coordination and Direction Meeting on Thursday (Dec 22) in Putrajaya that such countries have surpassed Malaysia in the tourism industry, so Motac must take aggressive action to remain competitive.

“One of Motac’s priorities for the coming year is strengthening and expanding strategic collaboration.

“Starting in 2023, I hope Motac will take a more proactive approach to strengthen strategic collaboration with industry partners, particularly in stepping up efforts to promote Malaysia internationally.

“The ministry must also devise a strategy for the tourism sector to consider aspects such as connectivity, new attractions, and the availability of tourism infrastructure and quality services through strategic collaboration,” he said.

He went on to say that the views and suggestions of key tourism industry partners must be considered to bring the country’s tourism industry up to par with the best practices in the region.

In addition, Tiong mentioned that Motac must reestablish goals based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and that all ministry personnel, including agencies under Motac, must commit to achieving them.

“I also reminded them that the prime minister has high hopes for Motac and that the influx of foreign tourists is expected to increase next year, bringing additional economic benefits to the people and country.

“To attract foreign tourists, all Motac personnel must step outside their comfort zone and act progressively,” he added.

Furthermore, he stressed that the Sarawak State Tourism Department must consider the most effective methods for promoting Sarawak internationally, as many international tourists do not recognise Sarawak as one of the tourist destinations in Malaysia that must be visited due to its heritage and natural beauty.

He also requested the participation and roles of all relevant parties in determining the most effective measures to promote the tourism industry in their respective states post-pandemic. — DayakDaily