Coffee trails, dark tourism: Malaysia attracts tourists with trendy adventures

“The brand will incorporate dynamic sub-brands that reflect Malaysia’s diverse essence and showcase the country’s nature-based adventures, cultural riches, shopping destinations, wellness meccas and event-packed wonders,” he said.

Innovating to be at the forefront of advanced technology, Manoharan said Tourism Malaysia is developing the Travel Malaysia super app to offer tourists a hassle-free and cashless travel experience.

He added that the initiative is supported through a partnership with Mastercard and will bring together shopping, exploration and tourism initiatives onto one platform.

Manoharan said the introduction of augmented and virtual reality would enable immersive marketing campaigns and interactive digital brochures, giving potential travellers a virtual experience of Malaysia’s treasures.

Meanwhile, Manoharan said digital nomads were increasingly flocking to Malaysia due to the country’s low cost of living, preferential treatment for remote workers and low inflation.

“Employees will be able to travel and work remotely across different parts of Malaysia while having access to stable broadband connections and other facilities and services,” he said.

He said “workcation” (working vacation) and “bleisure” (business and leisure) have become more popular since the introduction of Malaysia’s digital nomad programme “DE Rantau” in October 2022.

“DE Lantau has benefited both local talent and foreign nomads by creating a vibrant ecosystem that supports the nomadic lifestyle,” he said.

DE Rantau was first launched in Penang as one of the Malaysia Digital Catalytic programmes, aiming to position the country as a preferred digital nomad hub to boost mobility and tourism for digital professionals.

The pass allows digital nomads to live and work in malaysia for up to 12 months and can be renewed for an additional year.

In addition to this special pass, digital nomads are also offered services during their stay.

Malaysia aims to attract around 80,000 digital nomads by 2025.

The programme is expected to inject about 4.8 billion ringgit (S$1.37 billion) into the local economy.

As of June 13, 2024, DE Rantau has received 3,218 applications, of which 1,506 have been approved.

Applicants came from 78 countries, with the top five countries being Russia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

The average annual salary of an approved digital nomad is US$69,000 (S$93,100), with the majority having skills in software development, digital marketing, AI and machine learning.

A survey at the end of 2023 revealed that 40 per cent of approved applicants were staying in Malaysia with their families, impacting spending on tourism, education, food, accommodation and transport.

Manoharan said Malaysia is expected to see a surge in digital nomads, expanding its existing global network of remote workers and complementing those in neighbouring regions.

He believes there will be a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and skills between these global talents and Malaysian experts.

There are various reports showing that Malaysia is popular with digital nomads.

According to global talent platform Remote, Kuala Lumpur has made a huge leap in its list of the top 100 best destinations for remote working, from 84th in 2022 to 22nd in 2023.

Malaysia has been ranked first as the most preferred country for digital nomads in December 2023 by the nomadlist.com platform. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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