KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Players in the tourism industry have been urged to venture into experiential tourism as it is able to pull in more tourists and generate long-term revenue for the country.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof said many were still unaware of this form of tourism which was now in high demand especially for Malaysia, home to diverse flora and fauna as well as tropical rainforests.
As such, he said the industry players should strive to develop attractive experiential tourism-related products to lure more tourists.
“Experiential tourism focuses on tourists’ desires. There are tourists who are willing to spend more in order to immerse in nature and get a closer look at diverse creatures.
“These nature lovers are willing to pay extra for what they consider as conservation fund to ensure that the country will continue to maintain environmental sustainability,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview recently.
Experiential tourism is a form of tourism that focuses on experiencing a country, city or particular place by engaging with its history, local community, culture, food and environment.
Musa said although other major forms of tourism such as visiting places of interest were still important, the industry players must take the opportunity to venture into experiential travels as it was becoming increasingly popular today.
Musa said in terms of promoting experiential tourism, it could be done through word-of-mouth testimonials which were more cost-effective.
“As they experience a country, tourists will share their experience with others in their home countries and perhaps to the international community as well.
“There are also some who will share their experiences via social media sites such as Instagram or Twitter which directly promote the products more widely,” he said.
Musa said that among the best ways to experience “authentic” Malaysian life was by participating in homestay programmes and staying with host families in villages.
He said through the programmes, tourists were given the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of that community, as well as participate in selected daily activities such as padi planting, watching ‘wayang kulit’ performance as well as drawing and printing batik designs.
Musa said racial and cultural diversity in Malaysia had also become a major tourist attraction where they can experience various cultural celebrations, festivals and food.
“What tourists want is to experience unforgettable travel memories in Malaysia, rather than just visiting places of interest,” he said.
Musa said he was optimistic that experiential tourism in Malaysia would be in high demand thus enlivening the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign. — Bernama