PETALING JAYA, Sept 21 — Businessman Datuk Siew Ka Wei has been appointed as the chairman of the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board or Tourism Malaysia.
The Tourism and Culture Ministry, in a statement, said Siew’s appointment by minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz took effect from yesterday.
“I am honoured and grateful to Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz for the trust he has in me. I welcome the appointment as a challenge and responsibility to do my best for the country,” said Siew, who is the group managing director of Ancom Berhad as well as the CEO of the Redberry group of companies.
Siew stressed that he would work closely with all stakeholders — from industry players to the media — to further develop the county’s tourism potential.
The chairman’s post, unlike other government-linked boards, requires active participation in not only drawing up policies but also helping to set the direction of Tourism Malaysia in its effort to woo more tourists into the country.
As a well-known entrepreneur, Siew was chosen by Nazri to provide such entrepreneurial expertise to Tourism Malaysia.
Industry players said Tourism Malaysia needs to be more nimble in reacting to the changing taste of visitors and this could be achieved if Siew could inject more urgency to the board through his entrepreneurship.
Stakeholders will be expecting Siew to provide leadership to the board in this direction.
Tourist arrivals to Malaysia increased by 3.7 per cent in the first half of the year while in the same period, tourist expenditure increased by 10.7 per cent.
However, the growth came largely from neighbouring countries like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei.
Figures released showed that China tourist arrivals had increased by 32.1 per cent and Tourism Malaysia credits this with the increase in flights, ease in getting visa and return in consumer confidence.
Asked about his role, Siew noted that Nazri was determined to increase tourist arrivals and his role would be to make this a reality.
“A whole range of things ranging from catering to holiday makers, to medical tourism, golf tourism, adventure tourism and even food tourism has been drawn up to attract visitors to Malaysia but I am sure we can do more such specialised products to attract niche travellers,” he said.
Siew said he would also place emphasis on domestic tourism, which is popularly known as ‘Cuti-cuti Malaysia’.
“We need to encourage more Malaysians to travel within the country and to get Malaysians to appreciate the beauty of their own country. There are so many things for us to visit and do locally.
“We must open up more wonderful places in the country for both local and foreign tourists to visit. This will create huge economic and social activities in these localities,” he added.