On 29th March 2022, Taylor's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Events (SHTE) in collaboration with PATA Malaysia Chapter (PMC) and PATA Malaysia Taylor's Student Chapter (PATA MTSC) hosted its Hospitality Executive (HEX) Talk on Tourism Series 2022, where the tourism experts discussed the necessity and strategies of 'Rebranding Domestic Tourism'.
This HEX Talk Tourism series started with the Opening Remarks by Prof. Dr. Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management (FSLM), Taylor's University.
The Keynote Address delivered by YBhg. Dato' Haji Zainuddin Abdul Wahab highlighted the need to rebrand domestic tourism according to the various tourists' expectations including customized tour packages, flexibility, less crowded areas, and new norm practices in line with the international border reopening announcement by the Malaysian government. The HEX forum was moderated by YM Tunku Dato' Seri (Dr) Iskandar bin Tunku Abdullah, Group Executive Chairman of Melewar Group.
Array of distinguished Panel Speakers were YBhg. Datuk Musa Hj. Yusof, Chairman of the PATA Malaysia Chapter and Deputy Director General (Promotion) of Tourism Malaysia; YBhg. Prof. Datuk Seri Dr. Victor Wee, Professor at the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Events, Taylor's University; YBhg. Dato' Thangavelu, Deputy President of Malaysia Tourism Council (MTC) and President of the Malaysian Indian Tour & Travel Association (MITTA); and, Ms. Hannah Pearson, Director of Pear Anderson, Tourism Research Consultancy Firm, discussed the needs and strategies of 'Rebranding Domestic Tourism' from various perspectives.
YM Tunku Dato' Seri (Dr) Iskandar who moderated the forum, urged the tourism stakeholders to think more creatively to spur the growth of domestic tourism, even after the country's borders have reopened on 1st April 2022. YM Tunku further pointed out the essential roles of domestic tourism to the national economic force and the necessity to rebrand the domestic tourism by sharing success stories of the Langkawi Travel Bubble and Great Value Holiday packages.
Echoing this, YBhg. Datuk Musa Hj. Yusof emphasized the high contribution of domestic and inbound tourism to the country before the pandemic and encouraged the tourism stakeholders to promote the hidden gems and cultural tourism. Furthermore, YBhg. Datuk Musa highlighted the "Smart Partnership" between State Government, Government Agencies, Tourism Boards, Tour Operators, Local Authorities and Private Institutions to revitalize the tourism industry. In line with this, Ms. Hannah Pearson, underlined the necessity of focusing on niche market segments while highlighting the conservation and sustainability of the industry.
"So, it's time for all tourism stakeholders to be refreshed with innovation and creativity to provide better and satisfactory services for domestic and international tourists from April 2022 onwards", says YBhg. Prof. Datuk Seri Dr. Victor Wee. Hence, he welcomed the younger generations involvement in the tourism industry to understand and meet the potential customers needs embedded with technology.
Similarly, YBhg. Dato' Thangavelu encouraged the tour operators and travel agencies to revisit, relook, reconnect, and restart the services in the year 2022. Furthermore, Dato’ Thangavelu urged them to execute various strategies to meet potential customers/tourists expectations to sustain the inbound tourism industry. Dato’ Thangavelu also underlined the importance of quality partnerships and collaborations amongst tourism stakeholders, including government agencies, tour operators, travel agencies and public and private educational institutions, to generate future human capital with creativity and a digital mindset.
The virtual talk ended successfully with a Closing Remark by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Joaquim Dias Soeiro, Head of School, School of Hospitality, Tourism & Events, Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management, Taylor's University. Around 350 participants who attended the HEX Talk were Industry Experts, Academics and Students. They were enlightened with the enriching insights at the HEX Talk 2022 Tourism Series. The school would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the invited Keynote Speaker, Moderator, Panel Speakers and all those in attendance for making the event a success.