Tourism body calls for attractive budget travel deals for locals

Noel Achariam

The Malaysian Tourism Federation suggests local tourism players offer attractive domestic travel packages. – Facebook pic, January 13, 2024.

MALAYSIAN Tourism Federation secretary-general Sri Ganesh Michiel has suggested Tourism Malaysia introduce economical packages to promote domestic travel, especially for the B40 group.

“Perhaps it (Tourism Malaysia) can consider providing tax exemptions of RM1,000 to encourage the B40 category to partake in travel within the country,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

He was responding to news that Malaysian visitors to Hatyai in southern Thailand doubled to 20,000 daily during the Christmas and year-end holidays, which contributed more than ฿2 billion (RM266.3 million) to the Thai economy.

Hatyai Songkhla Hotel Association president Sitthipong Sitthiphataraprabha said around 5,000 Malaysians visited Hatyai on weekdays, with the number increasing to 10,000 on weekends. He said each Malaysian spent ฿10,000 on average.

Ganesh said a reason so many Malaysians visit southern Thailand was the economical travel packages.

“For example, a three-day, two-night stay in a budget hotel’s twin sharing room was about RM390. This is approximately the price for one- to three-star budget hotels in southern Thailand,” Ganesh said.

“Another aspect is the design of budget hotels in Thailand. Their premises look grand and attractive. This could be what the B40 group is looking for.”

Ganesh, who is also Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association president, said it could also be that there were a lot of activities and events in Thailand.

“Also, people like to go shopping there as goods are cheap and they can get a good variety.

“It could also be Malaysians’ preferred destination due to the promotional packages and media promotions.”

He said social media played a huge part in Thailand tourism promotions.

“There is also their social media presence, where TikTokers promote places, cheap goods and a variety of food.

“This also attracts budget travellers. A budget of RM1,000 is more than enough to go to Thailand.

“In Hatyai, the residents can speak Malay, creating a comfortable environment for Malaysians.”

He said local tourism players could play their part by offering attractive packages.

“To attract locals, offer two packages – one at a lower cost for locals and another at regular rates for international tourists.” – January 13, 2024.

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