Niche tourism boosts cultural tourism

Malaysian tourism stakeholders are optimistic about the growth of niche tourism and are strategizing to boost cultural experiences via local markets.

According to Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) president Mint Leong, Malaysia is eyeing the development of niche tourism markets such as coffee trails, houseboats, and motorhome tours.

“Places like Penang and Kluang have the potential to promote coffee trail tourism, often in locations that are not typical tourist spots, hence appealing to niche tourists,” she said.

“Tourism Malaysia can assist operators in promoting these markets, which will benefit local tourism for both domestic and international visitors, allowing them to appreciate and discover Malaysia’s diversity,” she said, reported The Star.

She said that as flights to Malaysia increase and independent travel becomes more popular, niche markets are emerging as a significant sector.

Coffee trails provide visitors with two distinct experiences, she added. She said coffee trails can explore coffee plantations to gain insights into cultivation practices, and indulge in product tasting and engaging conversations with skilled coffee baristas, activities cherished by coffee enthusiasts.

Leong also highlighted operators’ interest in promoting motorhome tourism, akin to tourist caravans, which appeal to enthusiasts of self-drive tours.

She said the growth of dark tourism in recent years, attracted a specific audience intrigued by experiences like overnight stays in graveyards and visits to haunted houses.

Areas like Kuala Kubu Baru in Selangor, Jerai in Kedah, and various locations in Pahang and Johor are ideal for developing astro tourism.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Nigel Wong, expressed MATTA’s readiness to support the promotion and presentation of these new products through its global inbound missions.

“The key is to ensure these experiences reach as wide an audience as possible through promotional roadshows and the media. 

“Tourism Malaysia should consider assisting local operators in marketing these attractions as well as boosting reach and views on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, especially for inbound markets,” he added.