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QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND: Malaysia is losing out multi-million ringgit in potential income from the “super-rich’’ tourist categories because there are not enough dynamic, adrenalin-rush tour packages in our country to attract those who have tonnes of cash to burn.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen took a comprehensive aerial, ground and mountain tour of world-famous Queenstown, nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, and found that this globally-famous destination was way ahead of Malaysia in tourism attractions.
Queenstown offers everything to tourists from every income category, from back-packers to multi-millionaires.
“Just look at the amount of money spinning out from this place (Queenstown). The mountains alone attract an income worth NZ$100mil every year (RM245mil) in terms of gate entry and spin-off for food, bungee-jumping, parachuting and helicopter tours.
“This value-adding is sadly missing in Malaysia. We in our country do not have any special packages for helicopter tours to cater to the super-rich CEOs and celebrities who have money to spend.
“Our tourism destinations in Malaysia offer the very basic for tourists only. Look at this place, it has everything, from great souvenirs to great food and great adventures.
“These are being packaged in such an innovative manner that Queenstown alone, by itself, can attract up to a million foreign tourists yearly.
“’We really need to enhance our creativity and innovativeness in Malaysia and offer tour packages, food and touring facilities to cater to every income group of tourists, including the super-rich who have plenty of money to spend,” Dr Ng said after a briefing by Skyline Gondola senior manager Chris Dickson.
Dr Ng is on a 10-day mission to New Zealand and Australia to promote Malaysia.
Dr Ng also took an aerial tour to the top of the highest peak in Queenstown, walked around the famous town to inspect the facilities, restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as ride the gondola for a panoramic view of the region.
She said Malaysia had plenty of such scenic places – from Langkawi to the east coast to Sarawak and Sabah – but the packaging was not good enough.
“We have cities with nice buildings, beautiful islands, forests that are 130 million years old, huge caves, beautiful limestone mountains and mysterious interior areas that people would love to see.
“If we can offer helicopter tours, I am sure a lot of very rich tourists from all over the world would love to come to Malaysia for aerial tourism,” she said.
She said that some wealthy tourists who came to Queenstown were willing to spend up to RM5,000 (NZ$2,700) per hour for helicopter tours.
Dr Ng said she has jotted down the value-added tourism advantages that Queenstown had and would talk to the tourism development authorities and private sector tourism players on urgent measures to come up with more innovative ideas to expand Malaysia’s attraction to tourists.
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