DestinationsTargets are to double tourists

Kuala Lumpur aims to be top tourism city in Asia

Kuala Lumpur aims to be top tourism city in Asia

Industry experts and foodies helped City Hall in designing the assessment criteria. The public is welcomed as volunteer assessors.

Kuala Lumpur is my adopted city. I love living here for its vibrancy and its multi- cultural facet, a place where I can mingle with my fellow residents of various races and enjoy their mouth-watering cuisine. 

The city has a lot to offer visitors - accommodations to suit all budgets, fantastic sounds and sights, a wide variety of food from humble food stalls to fine dining, and a rocking nightlife.

Yet despite all these offerings Kuala Lumpur is not getting the numbers befitting a cosmopolitan city. It is more of a stopover for visitors transiting to other destinations in Malaysia, or a business venue contributing 2/3 nights’ stay.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall, in a bold move to give the city its rightful place in the sun, has drawn up a decade long tourism plan as a catalyst to reposition it as a top-of-the-mind destination for exciting and diverse urban experiences delivered through world-class infrastructure and services.

The ambitious Kuala Lumpur Tourism Master Plan (KLTMP) 2015-2025, which was launched in mid-January this year, sets out with a number of initiatives to make Malaysia’s capital city the flavour of every month among international tourists.

Developed by City Hall in collaboration with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the Ministry of Federal Territories, the plan identifies 47 initiatives across nine tourism segments and 10 key enablers. The nine segments are shopping, entertainment, luxury travel, business tourism, medical and wellness, sports, education, culture and heritage, and places of interest.

The luxury travel and business tourism segments will be the drivers for longer average stays and higher tourism spend.

Kuala Lumpur mayor, Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, likened the plan to a blueprint that would be a catalyst to transform Kuala Lumpur into a world-class tourism destination in the next 10 years.?
The target is to double the current number of foreign tourists to 16 million and quadrupled tourism receipts RM79 billion (US$22 billion) by 2025. It will also create 71,000 jobs from this year to 2025.

Currently the average length of stay for visitors to the city is about 3.1 nights (2013 data) with average spend estimated at RM682 a night. The aim is to increase the stay to 5.5 nights at average spend of RM900 by 2025.

Ahmad Phesal revealed that even before the launch of the master plan City Hall has put into place a number of quick-win initiatives to develop the city’s cultural events and arts scene. They included “MUD: Our Story of Kuala Lumpur”, a musical play to showcase its rich and diversified heritage & culture; “Jalan-Jalan @ Kampong Bharu”, a free guided walk in this interesting kampung (village); KL Food Trails; and the launch of the KL Tourist Guidebook, MICE Guidebook, and KL Tourism Ambassador Programme

City Hall launched the KL Food Trails at the World Travel Market last November According to Ahmad Phesai, this is a carefully crafted self-guided trail map to position the city as a Malaysian cuisine heaven.

To further position the city as an international gastronomic hub, City Hall in February initiated the Kuala Lumpur Food & Beverage Quality Assurance (KLFAB) programme. This is a rating programme aimed at upholding higher quality standards in the F&B industry through the implementation of a quality assurance framework. It targets dine-in establishments such as fine dining, café, restaurant, bistro and fast food chain.

Industry experts and foodies helped City Hall in designing the assessment criteria. The public is welcomed as volunteer assessors.

Ahmad Phesal said 62% of the 5,600 F&B establishments in Kuala Lumpur currently are rated  “A” and are eligible for registration in the KLFAB programme. "This initiative is needed to build confidence among tourists to recognise Kuala Lumpur as a international gastronomic destination.”

Federal Territories minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, said the task of promoting Kuala Lumpur as a top-of-mind destination might not be easy, but would be achievable with both the public and private sectors working together to promote the city.

"Everyone has to work towards attracting more tourists and create better tourist experience and more jobs for the locals as part of the key growth opportunities set by the plan for the next 10 years,” he added.

And what does the private sector think of the plan? Can it achieve its lofty ambition?

Tunku Iskandar Tunku Abdullah, co-chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Development Council, and group executive chairman of business conglomerate, Melewar Group, believes it is achievable, and says, “Compared to neighbouring Singapore and Thailand, Kuala Lumpur is a 'laggard' in terms of tourist length of stay and average spending, and we need a plan to address that.”

Tunku Iskandar added that Kuala Lumpur, although known as a great place to shop, and with an interesting culture, does not have some attributes of many established global tourism cities.

“The Master Plan benchmarks Kuala Lumpur to other tourism cities in specific tourism segments, and thus we can measure the progress that KL makes over the coming years.”

Tunku Iskandar compared the plan to the cover of a box of jigsaw puzzle. “The pieces are all in the box, but without the picture on the cover we will not know how to put the pieces together.”

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