*An interview with David Hogan Jr, Online Travel Editor & Social Media Speaker, Winner of ‘Sabah Tourism Awards’ – Best Tourism Article Online 2014/2015 / ‘Tourism Malaysia Awards’ – Best Article on Malaysia 2012/2013 and more.*
1) As a multi award winning travel blogger, how do you do it? I mean how do you write such compelling articles?
Well, I had to learn from the international writers over the years to see what interests people. But I will say, it is no easy task. Overall, I study the local industry to see what interest them here, then work around that.
2) Can you provide us with your top 5 tips on how to maximise your content to go viral?
This is something that I do, via a seminar or workshop. So either you organise one or attend one 🙂
3) What is your favourite destination in Malaysia?
That would be Sabah and Sarawak.
4) In your opinion what does the future hold for tourism in Peninsular Malaysia? What niche markets do you think will flourish and what will fail?
Very subjective but if Tourism Malaysia continues to focus on the numbers and not the quality, we are doomed. Gone are the days of good quality products, tourist guides and tourism campaigns. Nowadays, it’s all about China, India and lots of big numbers.
5) The Malaysia Truly Asia campaign was amazing. It worked really well but over 10 years on and with other ASEAN countries like the Philippines and Indonesia starting to boom, what can Tourism Malaysia do now to follow up?
In my honest opinion, I worry about my answer. We were once leaders 20 years ago, now we are merely followers. Look at Indonesia, they had their tourism budget increased three times for 2016 to aggressively promote the country. They are open minded and also work with reputable bloggers (not your everyday lifestyle bloggers). Thailand on the other hand, bounces back so fast after a crisis. Look at us, how we do things. I’m most of the time speechless. Now, if there were less red tape and more focus, we could achieve some status once again. But if we continue to chase numbers and keep promoting the same old places, we will never grow.
6) What do you think is the future of ecotourism in Peninsular Malaysia, will it be a big player or stay as a very small niche market?
It will still remain as it is… nothing is going to happen. The niche players will continue to market this by themselves while the mainstream will promote ‘special’ places like Royal Belum. You don’t really see other places being promoted? Why? Simple – the infrastructure and knowledge is not there. People only know Taman Negara. So who’s fault is this? Over the years we (Malaysia) had a chance to allocate a budget to do a long-term branding but that never happened. (Maybe it did, but on the government side?) Ecotourism is a huge industry and a huge word, when the industry understands the potentials or how this works, perhaps we will then see a change, otherwise, it will be the same.