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SAY: #SaveMalaysianTourism - February 2, 2017

SAY: #SaveMalaysianTourism - February 2, 2017


“WHAT’S with the hashtags?” I questioned my friend about his Facebook status on Jan 17. He had posted a picture of a tourism event T-shirt and captioned it with a few hashtags, followed by the request: “Go to any Tourism Malaysia Negeri page and show your support!”

The hashtags sound more like a call for help: #sayangtourismmalaysia (love Tourism Malaysia), #tourismmalaysianegeridekatdihati (state Tourism Malaysia close to our heart), #savetourismmalaysia, #welovetourismmalaysia and #prayfortourismmalaysia.

A week after the said Facebook posting, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz announced the closure of all Tourism Malaysia state offices. In its place will be five information offices in Terengganu, Johor, Penang and at the international airports of Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.

“Ahh, now we have to rely on the state tourism department for media familiarisation trips. Tough, very tough,” remarked a friend, who is a freelance travel writer.

When the country began to aggressively promote domestic tourism in the early 2000 through the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign, the local media strongly relied on “fam trips”, as we prefer to call it, organised by Tourism Malaysia.

Initially these fam trips were organised by its domestic division at headquarters but the state branches gradually took over. These state offices have done a good job as far as the travel writers are concerned. Not only were trips more organised, they offered better materials for the media. After all, who knows a place better than the locals, yes?

Personally, I have never met anyone who has as much passion for the products they’re selling than the staff at state-based offices. They may not speak in the standard Malay or English as they are more eloquent in their local dialects but this does not deter them from “selling” their respective states. And, most importantly, they’re genuinely warm and hospitable, a true reflection of the locality they represent.

Now that the task of promoting domestic tourism is left to the state governments, what will happen to the domestic tourism industry?

“A disaster,” said a travel agent friend, who has been in the industry for over 20 years. “Yes, state governments organised their own tourism promotional events but these were done in collaboration with the Tourism Malaysia state offices, which were the anchors that brought in revenue to the state,” she continued.

She said most travel companies designed and sold their holiday packages with the assistance of Tourism Malaysia. “Not all state tourism departments are tourism savvy. Only Selangor, Terengganu, Pahang and Penang have the experts who are as good as, if not better than, Tourism Malaysia,” she added.

A friend in Tourism Malaysia echoed the same sentiment. “Yes, Sabah Tourism Board is well suited to promote its products. But that’s about it.”

Based on my experience, these states and Sarawak are better informed and well organised to be independent. But what will happen to the others that rely heavily on Tourism Malaysia?

“With the current situation — social media and all — there is no doubt that the state tourism departments will be able to work independently, but they will be lacking in servicing the clients i.e the industry players,” he continued.

This, he said, differentiates the work of the Tourism Malaysia state offices and state tourism departments.

“We do not solely promote the state we’re representing but also cross-promote neighbouring states. I don’t think the state tourism departments would want to or even have the budget to promote other states,” he added.

Will the five Tourism Malaysia’s information offices take over the state offices’ roles?

No, he said, because these offices are regional offices. “It will be too vast and too wide for them to reach down to the players and the players won’t easily get the attention they are used to receiving,” he added.

With the changes, what then will happen to the Malaysian domestic tourism industry? Only time will tell.

Pahang attracts Rm56.4 Bln investments: ECERDC - February 13, 2017

Pahang attracts Rm56.4 Bln investments: ECERDC - February 13, 2017 

KUALA LUMPUR: Pahang has secured RM56.4 billion domestic and foreign investments and created some 52,169 jobs as at December 2016.

In a statement today, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) said, the strong performance was driven by the state’s robust growth in the manufacturing sector, which contributed 51 per cent to total investments.

Other key contributors were tourism (26.3 per cent) and oil, gas and petrochemical (7.3 per cent), it said.

ECERDC said the four industrial parks in Pahang – Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Gambang Halal Park, Pekan Automotive Park and Kuantan Integrated Biopark – attracted RM19.54 billion in total private investments and created some 21,460 job opportunities.

Meanwhile, ECERDC said, Kuantan Port, currently undergoing expansion works, was set to offer investors in MCKIP one of the fastest routes to major ports in China and Asia-Pacific markets.

Kuantan Port, upon its completion, would be able to handle 52 million tonnes of bulk and container cargo, (double its current capacity) and strengthen its position as the gateway to Asia-Pacific, it said.

ECERDC said agribusiness in Pahang showed great potential with the new milk processing plant at Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre (MSCRIC).

The plant, expected to be ready by this year, would enable the anchor company, Holstein Milk Co, to boost its milk production in Pahang and reinforce the centre as Malaysia’s largest dairy producer, it said.

Holstein’s dairy products, sold under the Farm Fresh brand, currently commands more than 39 per cent of the local market share in the fresh milk segment.

ECERDC, through its human capital development programmes in 2016, generated about 2,448 job opportunities through some 971 entrepreneurs for the local communities.

Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, said ECERDC hoped to reach out to 1,350 budding entrepreneurs via the ECER entrepreneur programme in 2017.

“We will be working with Universiti Teknologi MARA to groom 20 batik entrepreneurs to promote our batik and textile industry to cater to international markets,” he said. --Bernama

Pahang International Marathon attracts more than 3,000 runners - March 12, 2017

Pahang International Marathon attracts more than 3,000 runners - March 12, 2017
KUANTAN: More than 3,000 runners from all around the world lined up at Taman Gelora here to take part in the 2017 Pahang International Marathon this morning. State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said it has achieved the participation target set in conjunction with Visit Pahang Year 2017. "The large number of runners taking part this time is a very encouraging sign. We believe it was the result of promotions held (for Visit Pahang Year 2017) since last year. "For this fifth edition, we introduced a new category of 42 kilometres (km), while maintaining previous categories of 21km, 10km, and 5km. "We have participants coming from countries like China, Kenya, Indonesia and Singapore," he said after the prize-giving ceremony this morning.
Sharkar said runners had to go through 13 routes from Taman Gelora to Jalan Dato Abdullah, Jalan Gambang and Jalan Sungai Lembing and other stretches in the city. He said apart from the marathon, other sporting events were also planned in all districts throughout the year in conjunction with Visit Pahang Year. "The marathon event is not just to attract tourists to this state but also to raise public awareness on the need to practice healthy lifestyle." he said.

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