KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism service providers such as airlines, hotels, restaurants and theme parks, should have promotional offers to entice domestic tourists in order to generate more traction on Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign efforts, said Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang.

He said this move would attract more local tourists and reduce the impact of losses after being hit by the recent booking cancellations, following to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The profile of local holidaymakers is diverse, and each has a special interest. So (promotions of) variety is the key. With good deals from four- and five-star hotels and resorts, Malaysians will patronise them more.

“Luxury hotels can also offer staycation for residents at rock bottom rates without disrupting their normal market and through this, holidaymakers will get the best value for their money,” he told Bernama.

Other than that, he suggested tour operators be innovative by putting up adventure and exciting packages to cater various segments, such as organising ‘Sunday tours’ in every city by taking residents out for a whole day tour visiting factories and warehouses with demonstration centres or showrooms for great shopping.

Tan said outdoors tours to nearby jungles or farms should also be considered as local fruit prices such as durians have fallen due to lockdown of major cities in China following the COVID-19 outbreak.

In order to add value of local products, Tan proposed that local shopping carnivals be held where only local produce is allowed to be sold.

“This will attract many farmers and local factories to showcase their products, which would be of interest to both locals and visitors, as Malaysians love shopping,” he said.

Malaysia received about 3.1 million tourists from China last year and 2.94 million the previous year. Hoping to get more than 3.26 million this year, but due to COVID-19, quarter one and two of this year are expected to be affected.

For the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, Malaysia aims to attract 30 million international tourist arrivals and targets bringing in total tourist receipts of RM100 billion.

Meanwhile, Bumiputra Travel and Tour agents Association of Malaysia (Bumitra) president Mohd Ali Ab Malek said those in the hospitality industry should offer fair promotions to big companies which intend to carry out activities for their staff at their places.

He said offers for meetings, seminars or courses at hotels, resorts or shopping centres can draw big or small companies to use their services repeatedly the whole year.

“For example, if a company has 1,000 staff, and they send at least 50 each time for a series of a seminar, imagine how much the hotel will make if their premises is used.

“This also helps supporting industries like bus transportation and restaurants as their services will also be required,” he said.

Malaysian Kampung and Homestay Association (MKHA) president Zohaime Muhamad Sori suggested that urban schools and higher learning institutions hold activities at homestays to give their students the “country” experience (atmosphere of living in kampungs and rural areas).

This would not only help homestays generate income but would be a great learning experience for the students who could then share it with others.

“This way, it will further promote the homestay concept, that is by sharing the true concept of homestays on social media or at the school or institution concerned.

“However, the government must also play a role to promote homestays so that the community-based tourism sector is not left behind as compared to other sectors that shine more,” he said. – Bernama