Flight accidents affect tourism sector

Malaysian government proactively tries to improve growth of its tourism sector on backdrop of back-to-back flight accidents

Summary: The article talks about how the tourism sector can improve the growth of the country. Even against the backdrop of the flight accidents, and slackening tourist flow, the country is desperately trying to improve its image to ensure the growth of the travel sector.

One of the largest and fastest growing industries, the travel and tourism sector in Malaysia contributes significantly towards the economic advancement of the country. It is also instrumental in creating various job opportunities. The growth of this sector also encourages formulation of infrastructures and government policies that would help the country progress.

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As per the Economic Impact Report that released today, the council said that the total contribution of the tourism industry in Malaysia to the country’s GDP last year was USD 49.4 billion or 16.1%. The sector’s total contribution towards job creation including jobs that were directly supported by the sector was 1.86 million, 14.1% of the total employment. In 2013 alone, the total investment towards the sector stood at USD 6.46 billion and was forecasted to increase by 5.1% in 2014 over 7.7% in 2013. Further actions were undertaken to ensure the growth of the sector in the upcoming years.

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Even when outlook of the sector looks positive with annual growth forecast of more than 4%, it would still require support from the government. The government needs to implement more open visa regimes and adopt intelligent rather than punitive taxation policies. The sector also needs more public private partnerships so that most infrastructure and human resource needs are planned responsibly and sustainably to absorb the positive effects of the growth.

Setbacks amidst rising airplane accidents

The recent bout of airplane disasters have however, severely hit the Malaysian tourism sector. Ever since it disappeared on March 8, 2014 which makes it precisely six months this September, Malaysian flight 370 remains to be found. In July this year, the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over territory held by pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board, resulting in severe faculties.

Disasters such as these have shed negative light on the Malaysian tourism sector. Therefore, the government is trying desperately to rope in various methods that will help it sustain growth and generate revenues to meet earlier forecasted figures. As per the travel market report of Malaysia, the tourism sector is therefore keen to promote the country as an outstanding tourist destination that is also safe. Putting behind the string of disasters in recent days, the country is being extra sensitive towards tourists by ensuring their safety.

Promoting tourism

The government and key policymakers are aiming to develop Malaysia as the perfect hub for attractions, culture, conventions, exhibitions and incentives. Malaysia is hopeful that adoption of various advancements and precautions will help the country grow 6.8 percent this year, on the back of a positive performance in 2013. Furthermore, the government believes that by encouraging tourism, it will be able to drive new investments and employment opportunities in the country. By bringing about major improvements in its infrastructure and policies, the Malaysian tourism industry hopes to increase the number of foreign tourists to the country and extend the average length of their stay. All these factors will contribute significantly towards the country’s economic growth and the overall lifestyle of the population.

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The overall outlook of the tourism industry in Malaysia in the upcoming decade looks favorable with a forecasted annual growth of 4%. However, this will only grow when policymakers drive more open visa regimes and adopt intelligent rather than punitive taxation policies. It is also critical to promote both public and private partnerships to ensure long-term plans that would help in sustaining the sector. Only then would the sector experience the inevitable growth that market experts are predicting.

Author bio: Aditi Biswas is a marketing communication specialist who works with Research on Malaysia to develop insightful reports on various sectors in the country, including the Tourism industry in Australia. With the recent spurt of accidents surrounding Malaysian airlines, the country is desperately taking measures to ensure continued growth of the sector.

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