Gaya Travel Magazine recently had the opportunity to interview the newly appointed head of government of the state of Selangor, The Right Honourable Tuan Amirudin bin Shari, who is officially addressed as Yang Amat Berhormat (YAB) Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor. Youthful, charismatic and forward-thinking, YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor shares with us on how important tourism is to Selangor and what plans does the state have to further boost tourist arrivals.
1. How important is the tourism industry to the state of Selangor? How does the state of Selangor value the tourism industry compared to the other sectors in the economy?
Selangor is the main getaway to Malaysia because Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA 2 and Subang Airport are all actually located in Selangor. In 2017, KLIA itself recorded almost 53 million visitors. On top of that, Port Klang, one of the busiest ports in the world, is also situated in Selangor. With all these advantages, Selangor is highly accessible.
Tourism is one of the main pillars of Selangor’s economy. The state government values tourism as one of the main sources of income and economic growth. The Selangor State Government, through Tourism Selangor, actively promotes Selangor’s tourism attractions, products and services to encourage the influx of tourists to the state. Continuous travel campaigns such as “Discover Selangor” help to increase public awareness, attract more tourists to visit the state and boost tourism sector’s revenue. These campaigns are constantly carried out to introduce and promote tourism products available in Selangor so that the state remains at the top of domestic and international tourists’ minds.
2. Could YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor share with us how much has the tourism industry contributed to the state of Selangor in the past few years? How has the tourism industry impacted the state? Is it expected to contribute more this year onward?
Selangor has been receiving large number of arrivals from domestic and international tourists. The state has played host to many exciting events and activities in the towns and cities across the state. In 2017, the state recorded over 7.4 million tourist arrivals, and so far this year, until March 2018, the number has reached over 1.8 million with the percentage increase of up to 12.18% compared to the previous year. For 2018, we target to receive 7.5 million domestic and international tourist arrivals. On top of that, the stretching goal for tourism in Selangor is to increase tourist arrivals up to 7.9 million per year by 2020.
3. Are there new legislations or policies that the state of Selangor intends to introduce to make Selangor’s tourism industry more competitive?
We follow the existing policies that have been implemented and monitored by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia. We also enhance promotional activities at the state level to international and domestic markets by attending expositions and exhibitions to attract tourists to come and visit the beautiful state of Selangor. Promotional activities conducted during the international and domestic roadshows are intended to increase the number of tourists from each market that we target.
While the promotional activities are on-going, Tourism Selangor’s team members who are responsible in Branding, Corporate and Communications firmly uphold the “Discover Selangor” brand. In terms of product development, I believe in facilitating infrastructure and developing the Selangor Personalised Packages.
Due to its competitive geographical position, Selangor is also recognised as an events destination among tourists. I also believe in the niche market, whereby Selangor will see the contribution from various other tourism market segments such as Cruise, MICE, Medical and Golf Tourism.
Indeed, we are now developing a program of cross-cultural training and awareness opportunities that help to improve mutual understanding between local community and industry expectations. We will have a world-class trained host community to ensure strong growth in income from tourism and sustainability of the state’s tourism products and attractions.
4. Could YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor share with us what portion of the investments that come into Selangor is classified under the tourism sector? Would there also be more investment in infrastructure by the Selangor state government to help boost tourism?
By developing new hotels close to Selangor’s attractions, we consider this as part of the investments to help boost tourism in our state. There are many attractions that meets the expectations of business travellers, families, couples or even individual travellers. We cater to different kinds of travellers’ needs. For example, the development of DoubleTree by Hilton in i-City Shah Alam will cater to both the business community and leisure travellers with expected Gross Development Value worth MYR200 Million.
In other example, the TWO Theme Park in Rawang is a new and ambitious lifestyle project that sits on a 20.4-acre piece of land. With indoor and outdoor entertainment theme park, including shopping mall and recreational area, this is a well-planned investment to boost tourism for the next five years to be developed in several phases.
5. What are YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor’s hope regarding Selangor tourism industry in the next five years?
We are expecting a steady growth of domestic and international tourist arrivals in the next five years. Through partnership between private sector and government, the state’s tourism industry will achieve its full potential by delivering the Tourism and Culture Brand Promise. There are many people depending on the tourism industry and it is an important sector for economic development. We expect Selangor’s sustainable economic growth and strategies taken will positively impact tourist arrivals to the state.