Monday, January 20, 2014

Interview with Jeffri Munir - Director of Tourism Malaysia (Melaka)

The M.T.A editorial office was given an opportunity recently to sit down and have tea together with Mr.Jeffri Munir –the effervescent Director of Tourism Malaysia (Melaka) to jot down the departments planned collaboration efforts and events for Visit Malaysia 2014.
Last year, Malaysia saw tourist arrivals of  25 million, of which 13.7 million visited Malacca compared with 12.1 million in 2011.
Malacca -- awarded World Heritage City Status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) -- continues to attract not just foreign tourists but also locals as well. 

An important component part within the well maintained tourism development planning and management cog in Melaka is without doubt the Tourism Malaysia department and its competent administrative officers here.
Promotion of projects such as the Malacca River Cruise, beautification of Sungai Melaka, Melaka Wonderland, Menara Taming Sari, Melaka Botanical Garden and the more than 25 museums in the state have been attracting tourists in droves, and the spillover effect has benefited people of all walks of life.

All levels of society have been seen to benefit from these Tourism inflows, as evidenced by the lucrative business increases in the city’s retail and services sectors.
Trishaw riders, souvenir shop owners, restaurant proprietors, tourist guides, painters, artists, hoteliers and even vendors of the small stalls located along the bustling inner city and streets to the outlying city outskirt street vendors selling pisang goreng now are happily doing business because of these tourists.
We started the cordial conversation with questions on how does Tourism Malaysia seek to assist our local tourism industry players on the issue of M.I.C.E (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibitions) for Visit Malaysia 2014.

His affable answer was that Tourism Malaysia is open to all and every collaborative works, with any party that promotes Tourism Development and promotion of Malaysian and Melaka Tourism.He further added that Tourism development in Melaka encompasses all its distinct 12 sub sectors and towards that Tourism Malaysia has prepared to meet the demands of Industry and Tourism sector specifically M.I.C.E with the setting up of a one stop centre for M.I.C.E to provide an avenue to all parties that it can assist with their guidance and assistance.

Established by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, MyCEB's role is to further promote and position Malaysia internationally as the preferred destination for meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibition including major events.

My Ceb personnel are available to assist local and international meeting and event planners bid for, secure and stage their international events successfully in Malaysia. Simply visit the My Ceb’s one stop centre website @ for further details.

On our question of how he envisions the issue of branding and selling a theme for the  improved development of Melaka City as a destination for all classes of tourism, and not just a low cost destination, Jeffri ably relates how the industry players has through the years been assisted by his dept through the issuance of specific branding and themed paraphernalia (door gifts, map, bags) related to Melaka and Malaysian Tourism overall to assist the Industry branding efforts for Melaka. Higher levels of promotion has also been developed to further showcase Melaka as a premier shopping, medical and  family oriented travel destination.

He also noted that Melaka is a mega diverse attraction with a high number of flora and fauna species with a higher level of endemism and can be effectively sold to many long haul tourists. Specific to the needs of the industry many Eco Tourism and Green Tourism efforts and event packages have been set up to attract these diverse range of tourists to Melaka.   For example specific Eco friendly events and tours catering to cycling packages, fishing and bird watching events have been set up in such a way that it also benefits the outer fringe areas of Melaka i.e. Alor Gajah, Jasin, & Merlimau.

Gastronomy attractions being a frequent visitation area for some other types of tourists have also been noted and various promotions, events and efforts specially catered for Visit Malaysia 2014 has been planned and budgeted for. In this aspect, Jeffri hopes the industry players within the 12 sub sectors will encourage higher efforts to support inbound Tourism by being more creative and pro active in supporting the governments branding and themed promotions.He elaborated some of these industry players can start this effectively by registering their support services i.e. Home stay businesses with the Ministry of Tourism.

Lastly, the good Director also identified the many licensed and recognised organisations such as Malacca Tourism Association (MTA) that he was willing to closely work with in moving together forward the industry and its players towards a higher tourism promotion and diversity platform.  To entice in more tourists, Tourism Malaysia-Melaka it would appear, has been expertly positioned to offer a unique and different experience with a constant change of new tourism products. Visibly, the state of Melaka is fortunate to have such able officers and managers in our drive towards sustaining and promoting our local Tourism Industry!

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