KUALA LUMPUR: Visa Malaysia has signed a long-term partnership agreement with Tourism Malaysia in driving inbound tourism and promoting Malaysia as a preferred travel destination.
Speaking during the signing ceremony yesterday, Visa Malaysia country head Ng Kong Boon said the partnership marks a milestone for both Visa and Tourism Malaysia.
“We are able to leverage our analytics capabilities to provide insights on travellers visiting Malaysia and our extensive global network to further help Tourism Malaysia to promote Malaysia as a leading tourist destination in the world.
“In addition, Visa has more than 3.4 billion cards worldwide, and enabling our cardholders to make full use of their privileges when they travel using our preferred merchant programme is important to us,“ he said.
Ng pointed out that shopping in Malaysia is one of the most popular tourist activities, thanks to favourable exchange rates, quality of products and diversity of choices.
According to statistics from the tourism body, shopping was the biggest share of expenditure for Malaysia, making up 35.2% of tourist receipts in January-September 2019 at RM23.3 billion.
To that effect, Ng explained that this partnership with Tourism Malaysia will leverage on the company’s Preferred Merchant Programme which features a number of rewards and benefits.
“The benefits include dining, shopping, family entertainment and medical wellness offers for Visa cardholders. These will be shared through Visa and Tourism Malaysia’s digital media and distribution channels worldwide.
“In addition, Visa will also help to promote domestic tourism in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia’s Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign and share a variety of offers that are relevant for local cardholders,“ he said.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Haji Yusof said with Visa as the preferred payment partner, he is confident that more inbound tourists would be attracted to the country.
Meanwhile, despite the prolonged Covid-19 situation, Musa said the target of 30 million arrivals and RM100 billion in receipts for 2020 would remain.
“From what we have seen, even the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has said it’s too early for tourism targets to be revised. So we will wait to see what happens and make a decision accordingly, depending on what the Cabinet or the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry dictates.
“All planned VMY2020 activities will continue as normal,“ he said.
It should be noted that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd announced that February passenger arrivals had dropped 23.4% to 6.2 million passengers, compared to a growth of 6.6% or 8.9 million passengers seen in January.
On that, Musa said the board is also working towards driving local tourism, with targets of 92.8 million travellers and RM76.9 million in spending.
However, given the drop in international arrivals, Musa said Tourism Malaysia is targeting to draw tourists from non-hot spot countries such as West Asia, India and Eastern Europe to offset declining demand from China.
On the fiscal stimulus package that is aimed at easing the burden of those in the tourism and travel industries, Musa said it remains to be seen if the board will have to approach the government for more reliefs should the Covid-19 outbreak continue.
“I think that is one of the first tasks our new minister will have to handle, so it’s up to them,“ he said.