Three Disruptive Trends in Malaysian Tourism Industry

TL;DR – Let’s Jam at GEM discussed disruptive trends in Malaysian Tourism Industry such as how democratization of tourism has opened up wider spectrum and increased the interest of tourists in Malaysia.

Malaysia as the 26th most competitive tourism destination in the world has continue to succeed in garnering tourist from different countries to enjoy the diversity of culture and lifestyle in the country, may it be in rural areas or cities. In tourism industry, especially in Malaysia, it is crucial to change the traditional way of its operation, into new and more effective ways.  From the discussion held in Malaysia Tourism Center (MaTiC) on July 26th, 2017, three panelists shares their viewpoint on the issue – why does disruption in tourism industry matters?

Changing the Way to Do Business

Information at your fingertips? Easy-peasy!

Taylor’s University Centre of Research and Innovation in Tourism Dr Frederic Bouchon shares the importance of digital skills. This doesn’t simply mean being able to use a smart phone, it means how one uses it to interact with market. The digital world is one that operates at hyper speed and without the right mindset, one is going to ‘crash’ before the mobile application crash. Hence, Bouchon emphasizes the full combination of skills, the ability to read the flow of market, getting stable financing and revenue, and together, work with existing policies.

Another panelist, Smart-i Malaysia CEO, Sofia Akzan Amir, shares how all the above values are translated into action, where she worked with her team to develop the Smart-I App for mobile phones that showcases destination for Malaysia’s history, multi-cultural heritage, places of interest, cuisine, shopping outlets and tourism packages.

“It also caters to the need of different age group; the baby boomers, the Generation X, the millennials and also students,” she says.

Changing the Place to Stay

Be spoilt for choice, there’s always more than one options!

One major disruptor of the tourism industry, Airbnb, has created a new trend in tourism and the options that benefits not just tourists, but business travelers alike for temporary lodging.
Ikram Merican, the advocator of Airbnb Malaysia says “Democratization of the industry and diversity of choice to tourist has opened up a wider spectrum and increased the interest of tourist to explore exotic rural areas, instead of staying in big cities.” Given the various options available to tourists, the tourism industry has encountered a significant growth and improvement, allowing tourism entrepreneurs to expand their wings and innovative ideas.

This is an opportunity for tourism entrepreneurs to expand their wings as these platforms are built massively on the Internet. Nasrul Salman, a travelling entrepreneur says: “The digitization of travel through various mobile apps has led to exponential outreach to future travelers, by using Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and big data.”

Changing the Way to Communicate

Words of mouth: the power of positive communication!

Building a travel community that is constantly in communication is vital. Nasrul adds that entrepreneurs need to be constantly in touch in the process and becoming a reference and messenger. Some of the talking points include places to visit, activities to do and others.

Spreading stories and experiences has always been the way to promote tourism, more so in these uncertain times. Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association President Uzaidi Udanis emphasizes that there are many tourist who would think twice before choosing Malaysia as a tourism destination. This could be due to terrorist threats, boycotts, disasters, and others.

“It depends on the locals to spread good things about their place, and promote them to tourist,” Uzaidi says. This disruption needs to happen – for tourism to become a prosperous industry in Malaysia.
Disruption in tourism industry matters – if entrepreneurs want to be the champion of the industry. It’s whether they are up to challenges, and ready to grab opportunities, entrepreneurs must not stay the same anymore. Its 2017 marching 2018, and we need to do it 2018 way.

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