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Friday, October 31, 2008

Malaysia urged to promote property tourism

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should promote “property” tourism to bring in foreign direct investment that would benefit not only the economy but also the retail industry.

Prime properties like this one in Setia Eco Park might be attractive to foreign investors.

International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Malaysia president Datuk Richard Fong said some real estate agencies in Penang had started to bring in groups of foreign tourists under a “property” tourism package that included visits to property launches and show houses.

The idea, he said, was to encourage these tourists to buy local property. As these visitors also shopped and stayed at hotels, their visits had benefited the hotel and retail industry, he added.

Fong, who is Glomac Bhd executive vice chairman, said the newly set up Malaysian Investment Inc by FIABCI Malaysia and the Economic Planning Unit, would strive to promote Malaysian properties abroad.

“With 1,000 foreigners each buying RM1mil worth of property in Malaysia, that will amount to RM1bil,” he said during a panel discussion on the “Synergies of shopping on tourism” at the Council of Asian Shopping Centres Conference 2008 on Wednesday.

He said it had been found that each foreign expatriate who bought a home in Malaysia spent an average of RM10,000 a month.

This would amount to RM10mil a month for 1,000 expatriates.

“They will also bring their friends to visit Malaysia. This is good not only for local properties but also for all of you (shopping centres),” he said, adding that the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) had been “under-played”.

Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management advisor Datuk Eddy Chen, while advocating wholesome “family” tourism, also noted that “sin” tourism like casinos and karaoke lounges had brought in the big spenders for certain countries.

While it was a good to promote Malaysia as a tourism hub, Chen said it was also important to look into offering more quality products and services and increase Internet marketing.

“We’re neither here nor there whereas Singapore offers a cocktail of incentives,” said the Metro Kajang Group managing director.

Tune Hotels Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mark Lankester in calling for a revival of “sports” tourism said Tune Hotels and its sister company AirAsia Bhd, were making it affordable for tourists to travel and stay in Malaysia.

By paying less on air travel and accommodation, tourists could spend more on shopping, he said, adding that it was part of Tune Hotels’ strategy to set up hotels near shopping areas and at shopping centres.

Malaysia Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers president Jonathan Kan called for more “cross border” selling to promote travel among Asean nations and bring in more international conferences to Malaysia.

By The Star (by S.C.Cheah)

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