The Arts Live Festivals and Events Association (Alife) has lauded the appointment of Datuk Mohamad Din Ketapi and Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik as the Minister and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture respectively.

“With much optimism, we at Alife look forward to the consolidation of arts and we hope that the ministry of the new Malaysia would recognise the role of major arts, entertainment and sporting events in creating streams of revenue in the tourism sector and continue to enhance the events industry in the country”, said Alife president Para Rajagopal.

Para said that at least 200 major events had been held in Malaysia between 2012 and 2017 with the support of Malaysia Major Events and these events created a revenue of RM3.13 bil for the local economy via tourist expenditure.

Of the RM3.13 billion, 30% came from the hotel industry, 30% from the retail industry, 25% from the entertainment industry (leisure activities, food and beverages) and 15% was contributed from revenues created in other industries such as transportation and tour operators.

“While Alife will continue to promote destination and cultural arts tourism, the role of other major events such as international sporting and contemporary art events in attracting international tourists into our country, encouraging tourist expenditure and job creations should not be discounted,” he added.

He said Langkawi, for instance had greatly benefited from sporting events such as Ironman, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Tour de Langkawi and Oceanman.

“From 2014 to 2016, major events had created a revenue of close to RM150 million in the jewel of Kedah of which close to 80% of the revenue were from international attendees.

“When Langkawi hosted the IFMA Muay Thai World Championship in 2014 some 10,000 people attended the event of which over 50% were international attendees,” he said, adding that the event generated RM36 mil in tourist expenditure and created over 900 temporary jobs.

Para said apart from revenue generation, several cascading benefits beyond the realm of tourism also must be considered. These include an increase in community visibility; positive shift in youth programmes and growth of other peripheral industries related to major events.

“It is our hope that the new ministry continues to develop and support major events as part of its wider strategy to increase visitor numbers and expenditure,” he said.

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