Published on: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: Tourism Malaysia aims to leverage on the State's position as a tourist shopping haven, capturing a slice of the billion-ringgit segment that made over RM18 billion for the country in 2012.
Tourism Malaysia's Head of Shopping Malaysia Secretariat, Ramzi Abu Yazid (pic), believes that Sabah is fast developing its retail segment in spite of being well-promoted as a nature-adventure destination.
"I believe Sabah will catch up as more and more tourists are spending more while visiting the country," he said during the agency's Duty Free Seminar, here, Tuesday.
Shopping Malaysia Secretariat is the planner and organiser of national shopping campaigns, namely 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale, 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival and 1Malaysia Year-End sale which are held over 240 days each year. Based on a Tourism Malaysia study, Ramzi noted the average tourist spending has grown from RM584.32 in 2007 to RM742.66 in 2012 per person.
And out of the total, about 30 per cent is used for shopping, he said.
Ramzi also said Malaysia Airlines' decision to restart its Narita-Kota Kinabalu flights on Monday (Oct. 28) would tremendously transform Sabah as a shopping hub ahead of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
Its Sabah Director Sani Sham Ahmad also said it was difficult to promote Sabah as a shopping destination, without including tourist spots into travel packages.
"This includes packages for shopping and visits to places like Mount Kinabalu, islands and cultures," he said.
Its latest promotion which has captured over RM200,000 to date, "Oh My Shopping! Holiday Packages" also needs to include Labuan.
"That is one of the creative methods, as people don't fly to KK for shopping," said Sani. Tourism Malaysia aims to retain a 30 per cent tourist expenditure on shopping throughout the Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government identified 6,090 goods that are duty free under the 2012 amended Customs Duties Order.
Customs Department Senior Assistant Director Salleh Samsuri said only 328 items have been recognised as tourism related products as identified by the Ministry of Finance's 9,425 lines of goods.
These items are divided into three main categories ranging from clothing, suitcases, briefcases, priceless and imitation jewellery, toys and small scale models for recreational use, he said.
"The list of items are in line with the world customs order.
It is normally on non-commercial purposes. Previously goods liable to import duty on or with any person entering the federation or in the baggage of such a customs duty at a flat rate of 30 per cent ad valorem shall be levied on and paid by the importer," he said during his presentation during the Duty Free Seminar programme organised by Tourism Malaysia.
He said exemptions had been formulated during the 2011 Budget in an effort to turn the country into a tourism hub, shopping haven and to push local industries.
A Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry officer reminded retail companies they must put up 70 per cent of their items during cheap sales promotions.
Senior Principal Assistant Director, Hamzah Mahadi, said while three cheap sales have been pre-determined by regulators, such as Mega Sale Malaysia and the Malaysia Year End sale, retailers can organise three of their own cheap sale promotions.
"These events however cannot run for more than 30 days with a gap of fourteen days from the previous cheap sale event," he said.
He said retailers only need to submit their application to hold cheap sale promotions 14 days prior to the event and get the registration code from the nearest Ministry office.