Tiong: Self-drive tourism will revitalise tourism economy in Southeast Asia

PUTRAJAYA: Self-drive tourism routes will revitalise the tourism economy in Southeast Asia, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

He said through a self-drive tourism plan, tourists would be able to enjoy the natural scenery, urban landmarks, historical context, cultural customs and other attractions of different states in Malaysia.

Among the suggested travel routes are Hat Yai-Sungai Kolok-Kota Bharu-Kuala Lumpur and Hat Yai-Alor Setar-George Town.

"The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) pledged to proactively cooperate with the relevant departments and agencies and arrange further negotiations with the Thai government in the short term on the selection of self-drive tourism routes to promote the smooth launch of the plan," he said in a statement today (January 31).

The plan was discussed during a meeting with ministers from Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam on the sidelines of the 2024 Asean Tourism Forum (ATF 2024) in Vientiane, Laos.

Meanwhile, Tiong said Malaysia and Asean countries have been actively promoting regional cooperation and emphasising the importance of cultural exchanges and unity to enhance Asean's status as an important tourist destination.

He said Asean countries are a community that is not limited to promoting tourist attractions but also strives to create experiences that resonate with tourists, leave beautiful memories and establish lasting connections with the Asean region.

"Presently, the hotel and tourism industry are gradually regaining their vitality and the changes, challenges and trends brought about by the post-pandemic era have entered a new phase.

"Now is the time to fully realise the potential and huge opportunities that can be harnessed and tap into Asean's potential as a new hub for global tourism," he said.

Tiong said during the meeting, he expressed Malaysia's hope for close cooperation with member states to implement various priority projects and initiatives during the country's rotating chairmanship of Asean next year.

During Malaysia's tenure as chair, the country will host the Asean Tourism Forum in Johor Baru with the theme of "United in Motion-Shaping Asean's Tourism Tomorrow" to cultivate a sense of unity and cooperation that transcends geographical boundaries and cultural diversity.— Bernama

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