Malaysia Rural Tourism Master Plan


Malaysia took rapid strides in tourism development and promotion between 1988 and 1995, with tourist arrivals doubling from 3.6 million to 7.4 million. However, 1996, 1997 and 1998 were years of slight decline, mainly due to the economic crisis in Malaysia’s Asian source markets. The Malaysian Government recognised that Rural Tourism had the development potential to increase the base and profitability of its tourism offer, making good use of its excellent natural and cultural resources, which in turn can distribute tourism expenditure down to the village level by increasing the participation and economic activities of the local people.

With the support of the UNDP and UNWTO, the government of Malaysia appointed TDI to prepare a Rural Tourism Master Plan.

Project Objectives:

The principal aims of the project were to provide an avenue for local communities to obtain additional or supplementary incomes, improve local economies and maintain rural populations.

The Rural Tourism Master Plan had four main objectives: to identify market potential for rural tourism holidays and to arrive at a definition of rural tourism in Malaysia; to provide institutional strengthening for the development of rural tourism which enhances the capacity of both government and tourist provider; to develop a viable tourism product for Malaysia; and to develop a Master Plan for Rural Tourism in Malaysia.

Project Activities:

  • Assessment of existing product offer (Heritage and cultural assets, natural resource, ‘rural’ experiences)
  • Market research to identify market potential and new product development opportunities
  • Tourism strategy formulation
  • Tourism product development recommendations
  • Training/Human Resource Development
  • Capacity building and institutional strengthening
  • Market positioning and marketing planning

Project Outcome and Impacts:

The resulting study is now being implemented by the Government of Malaysia contributing to growth in tourism in rural parts of the country. In particular, the Homestay Programme has had considerable success in delivering economic benefits to rural communities in Malaysia.


Presentation by Noriman B. Rojulai, Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, "Malaysia Homestay Experience Programme” 

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