GENTING HIGHLANDS - Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is not just one event but a nationwide year-long event to mobilise the entire tourism industry, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He urged industry players not to merely focus on the number of visitors but to look into ways to improve the tourism sector as a whole.
"We need to ask ourselves, 'Are we ready with infrastructure? Are we ready to put in investments? Are we ready to absorb the level of growth?' Instead of focusing on tourist numbers, we must look at ways of improving tourism receipts while providing value-added products and services," he said when launching the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP) and officiating at the ground-breaking of the 20th Century Fox World theme park here yesterday.
Najib said as the second largest foreign exchange earner (after manufacturing), tourism contributed RM47.2bil to the gross national income and the Government had set a target of 36 million tourist arrivals, with tourist receipts of RM168bil by 2020.
In the meantime, the development of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) received a boost following the launching of the RM5bil GITP and the first studio-branded theme park in the country by 20th Century Fox.
Najib said the GITP would help attract both local and foreign investments to the ECER, resulting in greater infrastructure development of the region.
"I believe the plan will help address the regional economic imbalance in infrastructure and encourage both local and foreign investment flow into the east coast," he said.
Najib added that the GITP would complement the Government's 12-year initiative launched in 2007 to develop and transform the east-coast region into a manufacturing and trading hub as well as major tourist destination.