Marine Tourism in Malaysia

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Paper presented at the National Seminar on the Development of Marine Tourism Industry in South East Asia at Langkawi (25 - 28 September 1997)

MARINE TOURISM INDUSTRY - trends and prospects By Mohd Nizam Basiron Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) 16th Floor, Wisma Sime Darby Jalan Raja Laut 50350 Kuala Lumpur 1.0 Introduction - Trends in Global Tourism

Over the past three decades, the tourism sector has grown significantly both in terms of tourist arrivals and tourism receipts1 (Table 1). The growth is reflective of the importance of the tourism sector within the global economy and also of changing social and economic profiles of the world’s population -- increased spending power per capita, greater leisure time, better informed and traveled (and thus more discerning) public, and major demographic changes in the developed and to a certain extent developing world leading to major changes in travel and leisure demand characteristics2. Table 1: Trends in Tourism Arrivals and Receipts (1971 - 1991) Year 1971 1981 1991 Tourist arrivals (thousands) 178,853 298,784 455,100 Tourism reseipts (Million US$) 20,850 103,750 261,070

Source: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (1993).

The numerical growth characteristic of the tourism sector is increasingly being accompanied be demands for higher quality tourism expericnce and variation in tourism activities. This has spurred interests in what is often termed as “special interest tourism”, 1 2

World Tourism Organization (1993) Compendium of Tourism Statistics 1987 - 1991. WTO Madrid.

C. Michael Hall and Betty Weiler (1992) Introduction. What’s special about special interest tourism. In Hall, M.C and Weiler, B (eds.) Special Interest Tourism. Halsted Press, New York and Toronto. In this publication, the demographic changes described are active aging population, later marriages, two-income families, childless couples, and a rising population of single adults.

1

Paper presented at the National Seminar on the Development of Marine Tourism Industry in South East Asia at Langkawi (25 - 28 September 1997)

liberally interpreted to include among others educational travel, art and heritage tourism, ethnic tourism, nature-based tourism and sport and health tourism3. However more ‘traditional’ tourism pursuits continue to thrive and grow. One of these pursuits includes marine or sea-based tourism. Such pursuits which may have begun with the Romans who used the island of Capri as a holiday destination over two thousand years ago, have grown into an industry which includes cruise tourism, large coastal and island resorts as well as the special interest tourism activities mentioned above4. 1.2 Objective and scope of paper

This paper is written with the objective of analysing the trends and prospects of the marine tourism industry. This will be done by examining trends in marine tourism growth globally, and its implications to the marine tourism industry in Malaysia and the region, in particular the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT). The examination however, is restricted by the lack of statistical information on the marine tourism industry, and the difficulty in determining the extent of the marine tourism sector. 2.0 Defining marine tourism

The problem of finding an exact definition for marine tourism, or, tourism in general, for that matter, can best be illustrated by the conservation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty in the book Alice in Wonderland5. ‘When I use a word’, Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more or less’. ‘The question is’, said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean different things’. ‘The question is’, said Humpty Dumpty, which is to be master - that’s all.’ 3 4

Ibid.,

King, R (1993) The Geographical Fascinaiton of Islands. In Lockhart, D.G, Drakakis-Smith, D and Schembri, J (eds) The Development process in Small Island States. Routledge, London. 5

Lewis Carrol,...
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