Today marks a very special day for many families and communities all across Malaysia, and I would like to take this opportunity to write about something close to my heart. Celebrations like Easter Sunday remind me of how this land now called Malaysia has always been an entrepot and a place where pioneers from Nusantara and farther afield – like Persia, Arabia, India and China – braved dangerous journeys by sea to come here to trade, to seek fortunes, and to settle down, forming families and communities, because they had faith that here they would prosper. In the process, and over centuries, settlers from far away lands put down roots on this earth, formed close bonds with neighbors, and today, we all share a common destiny as Malaysians. We Malaysians are peoples of different cultures and heritages, but born next to each other, working side to side, celebrating together, and suffering and mourning together. We enjoy each other’s foods and marvellous festivities in a way that is the envy of people from more distant lands. To these others, who will travel hundreds of kilometres or more by air, over many hours, just to experience for a moment, how we live here every day of our lives; Malaysia being the melting pot of South-East Asia is something they do not forget and will remember for the rest of their lives, no matter where else they will have the fortune to go.
Our diversity is a source of strength and pride. It gives our nation wonderful colour, and it is what makes us unique and different from the rest of the world. There is no other land out there as rich as us in this respect. This weekend as we celebrate and give thanks, or relax after a long working week, let us together resolve to build upon the foundations of this society for a better future for the coming generations.
Today, I would also like to try a change of tack. For the past two weeks, my emails to you have been about what Tourplus can do for you, and about asking you to list with us. Today, I would instead like to tell you about who we are, and what plans we have for the future.
In the second week of March, our CEO Rickson Goh left China and returned to Malaysia with a strategic partnership with the UM China and Guo Ao groups. Much of what was discussed during these meetings remains confidential, but this is some information from presentation slides I am authorised to share with you.
First of all, Why Pick Travel?
In the past, people who wanted a good travel experience would make bookings with reliable and trustworthy tour operators. Tourists, being in strange lands and countries, are vulnerable to all sorts of scams and even violent crime. There arose a necessity to travel with the expertise of trusted local guides and credible tour operators, and so the profession and the business was born.
Today however, with so much information on the internet, tourists no longer have to rely on tour operators for a good experience. They can do their homework and plan their itinerary on their own. Certainly, for those with the money, sharing their tour experience with several bus fulls of other people and being rushed from place to place does not appeal.
Our target market is families, couples, and groups of close friends who want a Private and Exclusive Guided Tour experience. There is still a lot of room and opportunity in reaching this target market.
How Does our Platform Work?
Our platform simplifies the selection process for the tourist into just three steps:
- Search by City
- View the Listings and Read the Reviews
- Hire the Guide who has earned your confidence!
How do we Compare to our Competitors?
This graph adequately demonstrates how we compare. Our platform is practically designed to highlight and showcase the best features of the Private and Exclusive Guided Tour experience provided by industry Professionals such as yourself. No charging by the hour shenanigans here. The goal is complete half day or whole day packages, and complete experiences.
Where are we now?
Our platform is open and ready for business. The mobile website is complete and the payment gateway has been fully implemented. We have people coming in to list with us across ASEAN. After an initial flood of applicants, we realised that we needed stricter vetting processes to remove unqualified and unlicensed operators operating in contravention of their own country’s laws. This is proof that our concept is in demand; but we just want it to be for the right people.
All of this ties in with the emails I have been sending to you for the past two weeks. We are on a recruitment drive, because one of the first Destinations we want to build up on our platform is the Pearl of the Orient. To build Penang as a destination on our site and make it attractive to our target tourists, we need to list a breadth and depth of tour experiences provided by Professionals Guides such as yourself.
We have a good number of pioneers who have signed up, but we still need more. We are confident that listing with us is worth your time, and that we will drive significant business your way.
If you haven’t done so yet, Sign Up with us here: https://www.tourplus.my/en/services/new
Our strategic partnership with the UM China Group will be focused on three areas:
- Enlarging our footprint and presence across ASEAN.
- Improving the User Interface/User Experience of our mutual online platforms.
- Technological cross-support.
The Inbound Travel industry for Malaysia will continue to play a major role in this country’s economy and development. As we form partnerships with others across borders and expand across ASEAN, we want fellow Malaysians and fellow stakeholders in the local industry to be one of our main partners, so that we may grow and prosper together.
~ Robert, 27 March 2016