The tourism industry is competitive and for Malaysia to retain its reputation as a favoured destination, a balanced tourism development strategy is definitely a must. This requires the federal and all state governments, including the private sector, to develop sustainable policies and promote actively products that are in line with visitors’ preferences, provide quality support facilities and infrastructure while ensuring that resources are preserved and maintained. Uncontrolled tourism development in urban and rural areas has created negative impacts on coastal tourism cities or towns, rural and natural resources. Sea reclamation projects proposals in many states also pose a threat to natural tourism resources such as marine parks, islands, forests, wetlands, turtle landing sites, resting sites for migratory birds and water catchments.

Many rural cultural and heritage products such as kampung and rural areas also face physical and cultural changes because of urbanisation. Sustainable tourism development requires the cooperation and participation of all stakeholders and the political leadership to ensure constant monitoring of impacts and corrective measures are made from time to time.

Natural tourism resources, multicultural and historical heritage of the country should be conserved. Tourism development zones in each state should also focus on niche products based on their locational advantages and availability of resources. High quality tourism infrastructure and facilities should be provided to enhance tourists’ comfort and safety. Priority should go towards meeting tourists’ preferences, including:

  • Shopping — hence, turning Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and George Town into  international gateway cities.
  • including shopping, health, medical, educational, festivals, sport, MICE tourism and others within the urban areas with readily available supporting infrastructure, facilities and human resources. This includes special-role tourism cities or towns such as Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as intelligent cities.
  • Coastal tourism, marine parks, island gateways and rural coastal districts such as Malacca, Pulau Pinang, Kedah and Kuala Terengganu.
  • Rural cultural tourism with an emphasis on the development and protection of tangible and intangible assets within traditional kampung, beaches and islands such as Alor Gajah, Kuala Pilah and Kuala Lipis.
  • Development and protection of heritage zones, routes and values such as World Heritage cities, heritage sites, royal and heritage towns, traditional and multicultural heritage lifestyles.
  • Development and protection of natural heritage assets such as national and state parks, marine park islands, highlands and hill stations, wetlands and RAMSAR sites, beaches, birds and turtle landing sites, firefly habitats and all other ecotourism sites. Under the NPP-2, further emphasis has been given to the four tourism development zones identified under the National Tourism Policy, namely Environmental Resource Base Tourism, Man-made Tourism, Heritage & Cultural Tourism and others which include medical, educational or ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ program.
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