KUCHING: The year 2017 is predicted to be a good year for the tourism sector.
The research arm of CIMB Investment Bank Bhd (CIMB Research) in a recent strategy report said the optimism was due to the weaker ringgit against regional currencies which benefits tourists spending and various initiatives and programmes undertaken by the government to spur the tourism sector.
The initiatives and programmes implemented by the government to attract tourists include relaxating visa requirements, allowing extension to stays for tourists from selected countries as well as implementing electronic visa (e-Visa) for tourists from China in March 2016 and India which begun in the middle of April 2016.
Besides that, there are also plans by the government to extend eVisa to countries in the Balkans and South Asia regions.
In addition, CIMB Research believed new tourist attractions will also become a pull factor to bring in more tourist to Malaysia.
Those include the Rainbow Skywalk at the top of the Komtar building in Penang by Only World Group Bhd (OWG) and Genting Malaysia Bhd’s (Genting Malaysia) RM10 billion tourism plan, the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP).
CIMB Research observed that key attractions for GITP include the 20th Century Fox theme park, the Sky Avenue Shopping Mall and Genting Premium Outlet as well as increased theme park rides at Genting Highlands.
It gathered that the opening of the various attractions in Genting Highlands will boost tourist arrivals to Malaysia.
Furthermore, the research firm said improved air connectivity to Malaysia will also draw more tourist to come to the country.
It noted major airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, AirAsia X and Malindo Air have announced plans to raise flight and seat capacities in 2017.
Aside from that, CIMB Research said better connectivity within Malaysia through the new public transport system and proliferation of electronic-hailing services such as Uber and Grab in Malaysia which provides convenience for travelling will be a boon to the tourism industry.
Likewise, the research firm noted there were also plans to promote Malaysia through Visiting Asean@50 year campaign in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
On top of that, CIMB Research said Malaysia which will play host for the 29th South-east Asia (SEA) Games on August 19-31 next year and the 9th Para Asean Games will also attract more people to the country from neighbouring Asean countries.
The research firm noted the government is targeting to attract 32 million tourist arrivals next year from an estimated tourist arrivals of 30.5 million this year.
Hence, CIMB Research believed the best proxies for tourism play on Bursa Malaysia include transport companies, hoteliers, theme parks operators and consumer goods providers.
Those companies are AirAsia Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, KLCC Stapled Group Bhd, Genting Malaysia, Bonia Corporation Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd and Heineken Malaysia Bhd.
Source : The Borneo Post