Malaysia targets Singaporean nature lovers and bargain hunters

MALAYSIA will woo its largest source market, Singapore, with more ecotourism products, even as it continues to bank on its annual sale campaigns.

Speaking at a thank-you luncheon for the Singapore travel trade, Azizan Noordin, acting director general, Tourism Malaysia, said the NTO would be focusing more on nature-based offerings such as parks and gardens and homestays.

“We have designated about 22 parks and gardens throughout the country, and we are going to promote 12 first,” he said.

Azizan also pointed out that Singaporeans made up more than half of the 49,000 homestay tourists last year.

Fascinating Holidays assistant director, business development, Hamid Samad similarly observed that homestay programmes were fast gaining popularity among Singaporeans, who were eschewing five-star hotels “to go back to basics and get an authentic experience”.

He has four groups of about 30 pax each planned for June alone, with enquiries pouring in daily.

Azizan also said that shopping sales continue to be a major draw, “contributing about 28 per cent of tourism expenditure”.

The 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, previously known as the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, will run from June to August at shopping malls and retail outlets. This year, however, other industry sectors such as F&B, hotels and tourism attractions will also be participating as part of the Malaysia Unified Sale.

Other tourism events in 2011 include a three-month 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival from July, a Fabulous Food 1Malaysia event from October to November, and a year-end Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Dance Tourism Carnival.

In 2010, Malaysia received 13 million tourists from Singapore, which generated 28.4 billion ringgit (US$9.4 billion) in tourism receipts, or roughly half of the 24.6 million arrivals and 56.6 billion ringgit achieved in total by the country.

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