Free Tourism Development In Singapore And Malaysia Research Paper Example
Tourism development in Singapore and Malaysia
In the modern times two forces have become very important in determining the growth and prosperity of nations. One is capitalism and the other is globalization. Globalization has opened up channels and markets between nations where previously strict barriers existed. Goods have found new markets and can be shipped anywhere in the world. Capitalism on the other hand provides an environment of competition where the economic growth of nations is dependent on the ideal utilization of resources, having access to the most economical markets and selling their own goods in the most profitable markets. This environment of competitiveness, greater mobility and communication has caused various new industries to come into existence like cellular services, cultural exports, and skilled labor exchange. One such industry that has deeply impacted various countries in the world is the tourism industry. Tourism has become an important part of the leisure industry in general and contributes roughly 9% of the world’s GDP. Asia and pacific have seen the greatest growth in this industry followed by Europe and Africa. In Asia, Singapore and Malaysia present an interesting comparative analysis as being neighbors and highly focused on the tourism industry both compete for the same customers. Tourism has an important impact on the economies of Malaysia and Singapore but despite the many similarities in terms of the tourist attractions and governmental efforts, the exact relation between tourism and economic development is not the same for both. Different relations can exist between tourism and economic growth where in one case tourism is boosted as a result of economic growth and on the other hand tourism contributes to the economic growth. Research shows that the relationships between Singapore and Malaysia’s economic growth and tourism are different.
Tourism has various social, cultural and economic effects and is basically an activity where individuals or groups travel out of their native area for leisure or professional purposes. The financial capital flows associated with tourism are numerous and are incurred both in the native country and in the host country. The costs associated with an individual tourist’s excursion include the cost of documentation like visa and passport fees, the fare of transportation, the cost of residence in the host country, the food and basic amenities consumed, price paid for sightseeing or inbound traveling in the host country, and the return fare. On a secondary level tourism also contributes to a nation’s economy by creating employment opportunities as for the travel agents, tour guides, restaurant employees, and cultural merchandisers. All these financial flows when aggregated constitute an important contribution to the nation’s economy and the more developed the tourism industry of a country is the more revenues it can generate. With the considerable growth in recent times in the tourism industry and the optimistic projections many governments are striving to develop the national tourist attractions and infrastructure. As of 2012 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) constituting Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were the fifth most visited region in the world. But the tourism growth in this region was the highest in the world hence the opportunity to rise in the rankings and be the top tourist destinations exists for many of the members. These countries are also fortunate for having natural resources and natural sites that can be made into tourist attractions and hence this industry is getting a lot of attention nationally and internationally.
Singapore is a modern city state and is comprised of a main island and several smaller islands. Since the 1960’s Singapore has shown rapid economic growth and became one of the four Asian Tigers along with Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong. Singapore specializes in financial services and in contrast to most of its neighboring countries became an advanced and modern state. Other major industries of Singapore include oil refining and rigging, casino gambling and ship repairing. Singapore also specializes in manufacturing technological equipment and refining imported goods. Singapore is also internationally recognized for its free economy and world class logistics. Tourism is an important part of the country’s economy with close to 16 million tourists visiting Singapore in 2013. As a specific measure to promote tourism in Singapore, gambling was legalized in 2005 and special resorts were established for this purpose. Medical tourism is also an important domain of tourism in Singapore as well as education. Singaporean universities attract large numbers of international students every year depicting its advancement in academic research and high quality education. On the demographic front, the total population of Singapore is around 5.5 million with a greater ratio of females as compared to men. Chinese comprise the largest ethnic group followed by Malays and then Indians. This makes for a diverse population and a highly skilled workforce.
The Singapore government through the Singapore Tourism Board began a campaign to popularize tourism bound towards Singapore. In the early 2000’s the campaign carried a slogan of ‘Uniquely Singapore’ and it was quite successful. In 2010 the Uniquely Singapore brand name and platform was replaced with ‘YourSingapore’. Currently there are many highly rated tourist attractions in Singapore. One important destination is the Marina Bay Sands that include a hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, observation deck, infinity pool and a museum. It constitutes a luxury resort and attracts affluent clientele. Another landmark is the Singapore flyer that is the world’s largest observation wheel. One can view Singapore’s distant skyscrapers and even the contours of Indonesia and Malaysia. Using nature’s own charm and human craftsmanship the Bay east Garden and the national Orchid garden have also been developed that have achieved a very high status as a tourist attraction. The diversity of Singapore’s population is also represented in its tourist attractions such as the China Town, Little India and the Arab Street. Tourist sites of historical importance are the Raffles Hotel, the Changi Chapel and museum and the Fort Canning Park. The Singapore Zoo is also given immense importance by the tourism management in the country and it is claimed as the best rainforest zoo in the world and does indeed house a wide variety of animals in a well maintained facility. With the revamped campaign tourism has been commoditized and advertised to the world over and the Singapore Tourism Board is making considerable efforts to promote Singapore tourism to potential tourist world over.
Singaporeans are a nation that is inclined towards gambling and the government had to keep a strict check despite pressures to legalize it. But in 2010, coinciding with the revamping of Singapore tourism campaign gambling was legalized but in a very cautious way. In 2010-2011 two high-class gambling facilities began operating, one in the Marina Bay Sands and the other in the Resorts World Sentosa. It can be seen that tourists will be particularly attracted to these resorts because of the numerous attractions these resorts offer as well as the gambling facility. The entrance to these casinos is also free for the tourists while locals have to pay a fee which is a way to discourage locals while also encouraging tourists and tourism. Even in the first year these resorts made billions of dollars in revenues and are contributing tremendously to the economic growth of the country. In the year 2011-2012 the growth rate was expected to be 6-7% with a quarter being contributed by the resorts. It may not have been intended as such but gambling casinos have become a major attraction for tourists and this coupled with the low tax rates make Singapore a very lucrative tourist attraction.
Malaysia has greater landmass and population than Singapore but economically they are comparable. Malaysia comprises of two main landmasses separated by South China Sea and numerous islands. Malaysia has had a very impressive economic track record with one of the highest growth rates in Asia. The economy of Malaysia was formerly dependent on natural resources but in the recent past it has acquired the status of a newly industrialized market economy. Tin, palm oil and rubber were the vastly exported goods of Malaysia but over time manufacturing has also been promoted. Currently Malaysia is one of the world’s major exporters of electrical and communication equipment. The tourism industry has also been largely promoted and is now the third largest industry of the country. The Malaysian economy is expected to grow at a healthy rate and will climb the rankings in the world to reach the top twenty in around 2050 from its current position in the thirties. Malaysia is also counted among the 17 megadiverse countries. These countries are home to most of the world’s species and are extremely biodiverse and important from a conservation point of view. With regards to the humans, Malaysia has a sizable population making it the 42nd most populous country in the world. The population comprises predominantly of Muslim Malays followed by people of Chinese origin and then people with Indian origin.
Tourism in Malaysia first got institutional support in early 1970s but the progress was quite slow over the years. In year 2004 tourism was given its own space in the governmental infrastructure with the formation of the Ministry of Tourism. Prior to 1990s there were relatively few visitors who cam solely to visit Malaysia and Malaysia was only visited as a part of tourism journey which took tourists to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia or other neighboring countries. In the 1990’s the visit Malaysia campaigns were started and a branding campaign also began that have transitioned over the years from ‘Beautiful Malaysia’ to ‘Only Malaysia’, followed by ‘Fascinating Malaysia’ and currently ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’. Malaysia is a country that can boast of immense geographical as well as cultural diversity and hence its tourist attractions are also varied and diverse. Perhaps the most exquisite tourist attraction is the Mulu caves where the world’s largest cave chamber exists. Other natural tourist attractions include the Perhentian Islands famous for the beaches and diving facilities, the Mount Kanibalu famous for its biological and botanical biodiversity, Pulau Tioman recognized as one of the most beautiful islands of the world, the Cameron Highlands known for the tea plantations and trails and also Langkawi, Malaysia’s most heavily promoted tourist destination and home of beautiful beaches. Among the man-made attractions the Patronas Twin towers are the most famous. The tallest buildings for some years and still the tallest twin towers in the world they represent immense aesthetic and architectural prowess of the architects and the builders. The Georgetown inner city is also well known because of its unique architecture reminiscent of the colonial era and the rich culture of the inner city. Bunga Raya Island Resort and Spa, Casa del Mar Langkawi, The Datai Langkawi and Pangkor Laut Resort are among the most highly rated beach resorts and popular tourist attractions in Malaysia. In the recent times the government of Malaysia has been actively promoting its tourism industry by holding international fairs, running advertisement campaigns on international media and hosting international sporting events like the Malaysian Grand Prix held in 2014 . These activities have given a significant boost to the tourism industry in Malaysia and to the ASEAN tourism.
With regards to the tourism and the image of Malaysia there have been certain unfortunate events that caused concern worldwide and have adversely affected the tourists intending to come to Malaysia. Some of the major incidents have been aircraft related. In 1977, an aircraft from the Malaysian Airline System fleet was high jacked on its way to Kuala Lampur but never made it and crashed in a Malaysian village with more than 90 casualties. Six years later in 1983 another Malaysian Airline Systems flight crashed short of the runway with no casualties but completely ruining the aircraft. Another 34 people were killed in an aircraft accident in 1995. An incident occurred in 2013 when an aircraft disappeared between China and Malaysia and is suspected to have sunk in the ocean leaving no survivors. Most recently a Malaysian Airlines aircraft flying from Amsterdam was struck by a missile and crashed in Ukraine leaving close to 300 people dead. These incidents affect the tourist arrivals right after the incidents as well as causing permanent damage to the reputation of the Airline and the country in ownership. This definitely shows that the Malaysian government has various avenues to improve upon and without ensuring the safety of tourists and local tourism will remain stigmatized and underdeveloped.
As far as the economic affects and relationships are concerned, it is important to identify the causal relationship between economic growth and tourism. It could be the case that tourism causes economic development or economic development could result in greater tourism. It could also be the case that the two variables are nor directly linked or have no link at all. Another possibility could be that there is a two dimensional relationship where tourism leads to economic growth and economic growth leads to greater tourism in return. Figuring out this relationship is important because depending on the causal relationship different policies will have to be implemented to increase growth. If economic growth causes greater tourism then governments should focus on increasing the overall economic health of the country and all the industries what contribute to the GDP. The government should also highlight its economic prosperity and future growth to attract tourists. On the other hand if tourism causes economic growth then the government should pay greater attention to this particular industry and use it to drive economic growth. In such a scenario existing tourist resorts ought to be improved and made as attractive as possible. Work should also in establishing more tourist attractions and having an efficient infrastructure in place to service the tourists. The country should have well developed transportation systems and tourist friendly documentation and fees policies. In the advertisements particular tourist attractions, events and tourist testimonials should be given more prominence.
Research was conducted to establish the link between economic growth and tourism for both Malaysia and Singapore. It was found that in the short run no clear relationships exists and the growth of the country cannot increase suddenly in relation with tourism. But adverse events like aircraft accidents, disease or social controversies could cause a decrease in tourism of the countries. This makes it important to avoid any adverse incidents and also have an active national crisis management, marketing and public relations team for handling adverse incidents. In the long-run however a relation between economy and tourism does exist for both Malaysia and Singapore. In Singapore tourism can contribute to the economic growth whereas in Malaysia the reverse is true i.e. growth in economy will lead to greater tourism. This suggests that due to the different relations both the countries should adopt different strategies. Singapore should promote its tourism industry while Malaysia should work on improving its overall economy. This also suggests specific approaches that should be employed in the monetary policies of the countries. Singapore should increase its money supply because its currency is more expensive at the moment and a cheaper currency will attract more customers as the affordability will increase. A measure that Malaysia could employ is increasing its interest rates as foreign investors will be tempted by the greater return and foreign investment will increase leading to growth in the economy. Having particular strategies and the knowledge of correlations is important to maintain competitiveness in the global tourism market and because Malaysia and Singapore have only recently become internationally acclaimed for their tourism. They compete with each other, other similar nations in Asia and internationally with long established tourist destinations in Europe and in Americas.
In a nutshell it can be seen that tourism industries are important assets for both Singapore and Malaysia. Both countries are quite similar in some regards due to their geographical proximity but they also have their unique characteristics that make them distinct from each other. Tourism in both the countries is supported by great tourist attractions, renowned advertising campaigns and governmental patronage. But the precise relationships between economy and tourism are different for both the countries. In the long Singapore’s tourism industry will fuel its economic growth and this calls for greater attention to tourist attractions and tourism infrastructure as far as development and promotion are concerned. For Malaysia the growth in tourism is dependent on growth in economy and hence Malaysia should put in more effort in improving its overall economic conditions and industrial growth. These findings have an important role in the strategy formation and having the most ideal strategy is important due to the competition in the tourism market globally.
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