‘Premium’ tourists key to reviving industry

Khoo Gek San

A tourist wearing a mask while walking on a sidewalk in Kuala Lumpur. Not many travellers are willing to spend up to two weeks in quarantine and at their own cost, say tourism associations. – AFP pic, October 31, 2020.

ATTRACTING premium tourists when the borders reopen should be made a priority as these travellers are willing to pay more and spend a longer time in Malaysia, said industry players.

They said normal travellers would be put off by the new norms necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, including having to spend up to two weeks in quarantine and at their cost.

Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association president Albert Tan told The Malaysian Insight that tourists will pay more attention to travel safety and to get quality service.

“Therefore, a high-quality tour is important to ensure tourists’ peace of mind,” Tan told The Malaysian Insight.

The main focus should be on attracting premium tourists from China, Europe and the United States as these are travellers who are willing to stay for one or two months to escape the winter season in their respective countries.

“Although the tourism industry had zero income this year since the Chinese New Year, we will not give up.

“We constantly study and refer to the conditions of various countries which have opened up their borders.

“We then design a ‘new normal’ tourism package suitable and applicable to Malaysia.”

They have been meticulous, paying attention to every kind of detail, whether concerning the food attractions, outdoor adventures or pit-stop areas, he said.

One of them includes seating arrangements for tour groups in restaurants.

Tourism industry players say recovery of the sector depends on big-ticket tourists who are more willing to spend on ‘experiential holidays’. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 31, 2020.

Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) president Uzaidi Udanis agrees that tourists willing to travel abroad during the pandemic are generally more attentive to quality.

In fact, they are less likely to prefer crowded tourist attractions and would rather go for niche destinations and aim for in-depth travels.

Uzaidi said travel expenses will inevitably increase although the extent of the increase is still unknown.

He also suggests that the government explore visa-free tourism for one month and to implement special visas to enable tourists to stay longer after the quarantine period.

“The Immigration Department needs to study the processing of special visas and do it soon so that there’s no delay when the borders are ready to be opened.

“Once the travel restrictions of various countries are relaxed, I believe that tourists will be willing to spend.

“Some tourists are retirees that have the time and money to travel and stay in five-star hotels. These tourists will help the industry gradually recover.”

He also urged the government to consider allowing business travels because presidents or chief executive officers of large companies usually stay in five-star hotels and are willing to spend, which also helps the tourism industry.

“Sabah has the highest tourism revenue in Malaysia and is now a severely affected state.

“However, the government cannot abandon the other green-zone areas and should gradually open up the borders. We have to take a long-term view of the tourism market.” – October 29, 2020.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.


  • Are you guys living on a different planet to me? Unemployment is at a high is developed nations. Companies are going bankrupt on a massive scale. Who has money to spend on extended holidays? Certainly not the States. They are only allowed 10 days of unpaid holiday a year in the majority of cases. Do your market research properly please.

    Posted 3 years ago by Malaysia New hope · Reply