On the tourism sector, Sean Seah (pic), Chief Executive Officer of Asia-based integrated amusement park solutions and services provider Galasys PLC, speaks of Intelligent Tourism: For a long time, tourism has counted as a major sector for Malaysia's economy. However, in recent years, this sector has somewhat "deteriorated" for various reasons. However the fact that Galasys continues to do so well, goes to show that there is a lot of potential in the market.
As consumers get savvier, the tourism industry needs to leverage on new technology to revamp the traditional approaches to "attract" them. There is a marked rise in the investment in digital channels and computerisation amongst Asia theme park operators; however, on the Malaysian front, investment has been rather slow due to the new GST and weaker currency.
According to Tourism Malaysia, tourist numbers dropped 9.4 percent in between January to June 2015. A total of 12,567,300 million foreign visitors were recorded in the first half of this year as compared to 13.875.046 in the same period in 2014. Tourist arrivals from China fell 28.5 percent to 380,000 tourists in the first quarter of 2015. Among the worst-hit were arrivals from China, which fell from 520,400 from January to March last year to 380,000 (-28.5 per cent) in the same period this year.
The average China tourist rarely travels beyond Kuala Lumpur, Genting and Melaka. Language barrier and lack of an easy method to book packages across the country can be attributed to this. In order to stand out in the region, the Malaysian Tourism industry needs to look into changing the way they promote Malaysia to the world. While the tourism ads may have been successful in the past, it seems to be less effective with todays' internet driven tourist.
In terms of transforming beyond norms during 2015, Galasys launched its Intelligent Tourism Cloud Marketing Platform (ITCMP), which integrates Big-data analytics, to allow tourists in China to pick and choose attractions, restaurants, accommodation, transportation, shopping, entertainment and more from one integrated platform which they can easily pay for via their favourite Online Travel Agency (OTA) such as C-Trip or payment gateway such as Alipay.
Yangzhou China is the first China district that deployed ITCMP and has been successfully attracted millions of free-n-easy tourists to visit Yangzhou. Xinjiang China is the second district to use the platform, which now has more than500,000 subscribers in China through Galasys collaborations with Alitrip, C-Trip, Tuniu, and more. Galasys is planning to invest and deploy this ITCMP in Malaysia and other cities in Asia. Galasys is confident to reintroduce Malaysia to the technology savvy free-n-easy tourists.
Galasys was also recently selected to be part of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) programme GAIN (Global Acceleration Innovation Network), which aims to escalate the growth rate of these companies. We were recently part of a networking trip to Silicon Valley, USA.
With Intelligent Tourism offered by a local organisation such as Galasys, our wish list is that we can collaborate with the Malaysian tourism authorities, government and local operations to start turning around in 2016 to adopt the right Internet and social media solutions via the right strategy so that our local tourism sector doesn't lose out even more to other Asian countries.
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