Malaysia is a tourist-driven economy, besides manufacturing sector such as the auto industry and other important sectors that are driving the Malaysia’s economy. Tourism sector is Malaysia’s second largest revenue earner, after manufacturing.
Tourism involves many players including tourists, businesses, tourism managers, host communities and society. All players need to derive benefits from tourism for tourism to be truly successful. The aspirations of these players are partially competing – tourists seek to maximise ‘consumer surplus’, i.e. get the best experience possible for the least cost, while businesses seek to maximise (short-term) profits and host communities are interested in long-term income and employment as well as net benefits.
Usually tourism success is measured by the number of tourists entering the country. This measure is useful when assessing tourism at a national scale since economic activity generated can be assumed to be dependable to tourist numbers. Thus, from a national – or even state perspective – it is useful to pursue an increase in tourist numbers, both international as well as inter- and intra-state.
2. Problems Tourists Faced Arriving in Malaysia
There several problems tourists may faced when arriving in Malaysia.
2.1 Inadequate Infrastructural Facilities.
Some states have experiencing inadequate infrastructural facilities and related services particularly in relation to accommodation and transportation. The immediate problem in several regions in Malaysia, for example, is the shortage of resort-type hotels. The deficiency also extends to suitable accommodation facilities for budget class tourists. This is more apparent that some islands with tourist potential off mainland Borneo have not been provided with accommodation facilities.
In relation to transportation, public transports are too frequently not available to tourist destinations away from the main city or towns. Tourists have to hire taxis which are expensive to reach their destinations.
2.1.1 Possible Solutions – Investment Incentive and Allocation for Development
The government, through the relevant authorities, is urged to offer financial and enhanced investment incentive for investment in tourism related infrastructural facilities. A more direct role is to increase the allocation for development of infrastructure in potential but undeveloped tourist site. Public transport shall also be made available to remote tourist destinations.
2.2 Increase in Crime
Instances where there are increases of crime due to the increasing of tourist numbers include the following:
(i) Tourists as Victims of Thefts and Robbery
Despite friendly warning from hotel staff, taxi drivers, and locals, the tourists are less likely to observe the normal safety precautions they would do at home. So valuables are left in clear view in locked or unlocked motor vehicles or unattended on a beach. In addition, hotel rooms or apartment are not properly secured, and cameras, money, jewelry are left lying around.
Incident as per Appendix I highlights how a Britons’ holiday was ruined by snatch thieves.
(ii) Hot Spots Location
Foreign tourists use to frequenting places such as bars, nightclubs and strip joints catering to tourists and providing ancillary services such as prostitution and drugs. These places are prone to criminal activities.
2.2.1 Possible Solutions – Round the Clock Patrol by Tourist Policemen
Strengthening tourist police and the plainclothes special strike force personnel on round-the-clock patrol may help reduce petty crimes like pick pocketing. In Kuching, Sarawak, there are now more than 30 tourist policemen and 20 special strike force personnel on regular patrols along the waterfront and nearby areas frequented by tourists.
2.2.2 Safety and Security at Tourist Areas
Patrolling of tourist areas by Malaysian Navy especially those around popular islands will reduce the instances of piracy, thus, convincing the tourists that they are in secured area..
2.3 Language Barrier and Communication Skills.
The country in general and Sarawak in particular is experiencing the shortages of tour guides who can speak foreign languages such as Japanese and Korean. The Ministry of Tourism has acknowledged that Japanese and Korean-speaking tourist guides are in demand to cater the increasing number of these two groups of tourists.
Tourists seek assistance in order to achieve their goals. What some times occur is a degree of intercultural miscommunication. At tourist offices, information kiosks, reservation desks and the like, a tourist may expect a simple smile, some small talk, asked how he is enjoying himself, where he is from, how else he could be further assisted. Yet another tourist may expect to be offered assistance before he has to request it. However, some of the elements of good communication skills have been lacking among the tourist front liners.
2.3.1 Possible Solutions – Attending Classes
It is of paramount importance for the relevant authority to initiate special classes or courses for the tourist front liners to master the relevant languages and improve their communication skills.
3. Recommendations on How to make Malaysia Attractive to Tourists.
3.1 Programme for Tourists.
Supports a programme of events (e.g. dragon boat festival), arts (e.g. presentation of local artist collections), sports (e.g. Formula One, F1,) and other culture (e.g. cultural villages). The Malaysia populations must support all these events so that the local crowds from all ways of life and cultures will attract foreign tourists.
Malaysia has been organising programme of events that have attracted tourist to visit the country. Examples of such events are:
– Le Tour De Langkawi
– Petronas Malaysian F! Grandprix
– Malaysian Water Festival
– Labuan International Sea Challenge
– Dragon Boat Festival
– Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon
– Sarawak Regatta
3.1.1 Le Tour de Langkawi
This is a sports tourism highlight in Malaysia. It was first held in 1996, and have been successfully organized annually. Le Tour De Langkawi is all about cycling, competing among the best cyclist from other part of the world. It is said that the Le Tour De Langkawi is equivalent to the prestigious status of several major races in Europe.
The race attracts many international journalists leading to reports and images published world wide. Travel features are also written illustrating the beautiful country and what it has to offer the tourist. The race is named after the original starting point of the race, Langkawi in Kedah, but has since shifted away, sometimes avoiding it altogether. Nowadays, the Tour de Langkawi kicks off at the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur or at the administrative capital of Putrajaya.
3.1.2 Malaysia Water Festival
Attractive events at the festival are dragon boat race, boat race as well as kayak and raft competitions. There are also family-oriented programmes such as beach sepak takraw, beach football, beach volleyball and sand castle building.
This festival is to further promote Langkawi as a tourism destination and Pulau Chenang as a tourist spot,” he told reporters here.
3.2 Development and Enhancement of Historical Places.
Historic buildings and historical areas can be developed and promoted as tourism products to attract foreign as well as domestic tourist and directly will generate revenue from foreign exchange. Historic buildings being restored and converted into museums, art galleries, restaurants and tourist centres are common phenomena in many European countries. In Malaysia, examples of heritage cities include Georgetown, Malacca, Kota Bharu, Taiping, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching.
Many tourists visit heritage cities to encounter and experience their architecture, historic sites and local cultures. Conservation activities help develops the preservation of such historic characters and traditional flavours for the benefit of tourism. Moreover, the conservation of heritage cities could bring economic returns to many sectors including travel agents, tour operators and owners of historic premises.
3.3 Attractions of Islands, Beaches and Shopping Destinations.
Many of Malaysian islands are famous worldwide. More than one island has been called a tropical paradise. Pulau Perhentian (Terengganu), which consists of two islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil – have beautiful coral gardens within its waters. Pulau Langkawi, which is famous for the Mahsuri legend, is also a duty-free shopping haven. This paradise also offers several attractions besides its beaches. There’s Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells), Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake Of the Pregnant Maiden), wildlife sanctuary Pulau Singa Besar and Pulau Payar Marine Park, to name a few.
As far as shopping destinations are concerned Kuala Lumpur (KL), which is also known as the “Garden City of Lights”, has much to offer the traveller. Shopping havens can be found in Chinatown, Little India, Central Market, local bazaars and the many luxurious shopping malls.