Time to get tourists in M&’sia to  spend more

As a tourist destination, Malaysia is doing really well. It has the highest number of tourist arrivals ~ 25.03 million ~ in the region in 2012.
That&’s the good news. The less sanguine news is that we aren’t so good in getting the tourists to spend their money when they are here. We earned 60.6 billion ringgit (US$18.8 billion) from them, a figure that trails behind Thailand and Singapore which have fewer tourist arrivals.
Singapore, for example, with only 13.2 million tourists in 2011, increased its tourism revenue from $14.1 billion in 2010 to $18 billion in 2011, almost the same amount Malaysia earned last year.
There are good reasons why we get the tourists but not their money. We simply don’t have enough tourism products for them to stay longer and spend.
And if we really want to catch up, what we need are not just cheap trinkets and budget accommodations but high value tourism products that can boost the local economy with jobs and generate greater foreign exchange earnings.
Studies have shown that every tourist dollar spent here has a multiplier effect of 12 times.
That&’s why Malaysia’s Resorts World Genting&’s coup in signing an MoA with 20th Century Fox to build the US film giant&’s first ever theme park in the world deserves applause.
Twentieth Century Fox consumer products president Jeffrey Godsick was quoted as saying, “This theme park marks the launch of our global location based entertainment strategy.”
The fact it has chosen a Malaysian company as its partner to develop its first park in Malaysia is truly noteworthy.
World class theme parks can do wonders to boost tourism, as proven in Johor. The state Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Tee Siew Kiong said tourist arrivals to the state touched more than 3.95 million last year with the opening of international theme parks such as Legoland and Hello Kitty Town in Puteri Harbour Indoor Theme Park in Johor.

The Star