Malaysia Proposes Self-Drive Tourism Routes To Boost Southeast Asian Economy

Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, in a statement yesterday (Jan 31) revealed a plan promoting self-drive tourism routes across the region. The initiative aims to showcase the natural beauty, historical landmarks, and traditional cultures of Malaysia, fostering economic growth in the tourism sector.

Under the proposed plan, tourists will have the opportunity to explore designated self-drive routes, including Hat Yai-Sungai Kolok-Kota Bharu-Kuala Lumpur and Hat Yai-Alor Setar-George Town. Minister Tiong expressed confidence that this innovative approach would not only attract visitors but also promote cross-border collaboration among ASEAN nations.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) is committed to actively collaborate with various departments and agencies to initiate discussions with the Thai government regarding the selected routes. The goal is to ensure the smooth implementation of the self-drive tourism initiative and enhance regional cooperation.

The proposed routes were discussed during a meeting between Minister Tiong and counterparts from Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 in Vientiane, Laos. Malaysia, along with other ASEAN nations, is actively promoting regional cooperation, emphasizing cultural exchange, and unity to elevate ASEAN as a key global tourism destination.

In a statement, Minister Tiong highlighted that ASEAN countries are not just promoting tourist attractions but are also striving to create captivating experiences tailored to travelers’ preferences. He emphasised that the tourism and hospitality industry is gradually recovering, facing new challenges and trends in the post-pandemic era.

“Now is the time to fully realise the immense potential and opportunities that ASEAN can generate, positioning it as a new hub for global tourism,” Tiong stated. As Malaysia assumes the role of ASEAN chair in 2025, the country aims to foster close cooperation among member states by hosting the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Johor Bahru, themed “United in Motion – Shaping ASEAN’s Tourism Tomorrow.”

The forum aims to cultivate a spirit of unity and collaboration transcending geographical boundaries and cultural diversity. With the self-drive tourism initiative at the forefront, Malaysia envisions a future where ASEAN becomes a seamless and interconnected travel destination for global tourists.

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