The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) is spearheading the development of the recreational vehicle (RV) and caravan industry in Malaysia by leveraging on the global growth of the RV industry post pandemic.
ECERDC is taking the first steps by bringing together policymakers and established foreign RV industry players to explore a framework to develop the industry in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) and in Malaysia.
Members of the Caravan Association from Germany (Caravaning Industrie Verband e.V. – CIVD) who represents German RV industry players, accepted ECERDC’s invitation to come to Malaysia and specifically ECER from 20-24 February to explore investment and business opportunities in the RV Industry as well as to identify caravan hub for ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets.
The CIVD delegation participated in a roundtable meeting hosted by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority MIDA which was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) as well as agencies including the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM), Land Public Transport Agency (APAD), Royal Malaysian Customs Department to discuss various technicalities for the successful implementation of the RV industry in the Malaysia.
Malaysia, being in the heart of Southeast Asia gives RV manufacturers from Germany an opportunity to explore the investment opportunity in ECER to set up an RV assembly plant to address the domestic, ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets. ECERDC’s role is to engage and complement the relevant Federal and State Government Agencies to facilitate the smooth implementation of strategic, high-impact and catalytic projects which will spur socio-economic development and growing RV Industry in ECER is one such project.
“In Malaysia, RV tourism is still in its infancy stage, however, there is potential for it to grow,” said CEO ECERDC, Dato’ Baidzawi Che Mat.
“Similar to global tourists, domestic tourists are also seeking safer options to travel and be closer to nature. There is a significant number of caravan enthusiasts in Malaysia, and the numbers are growing,” he mentioned.
ECERDC also brought the German delegation to visit the Pekan Automotive Park (PAP), ECERDC’s automotive hub, to assess its potential to be an assembly hub for domestic and export markets.
PAP is a fully integrated, environmentally friendly automotive park with mature automotive ecosystem and home to German automakers such as Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen as well as to other global players who are critical in the automotive supply chain.
The potential for the RV Industry goes beyond the investment into the manufacturing sector and jobs related to it but will also spur the untapped local economic potential in the tourism industry.
Malaysia, especially the East Coast, has many tourism destinations, and currently, there are over 150 existing campsites and recreational sites in Malaysia, especially along the coastal areas of the East Coast region.
Tasik Bera in Pahang and Pantai Air Papan in Mersing, Johor are some examples of existing destinations in the ECER region that will be the focus of RV tourism.
Tasik Bera (Lake Bera), located in the southwestern corner of the state of Pahang is a wetland area that can be developed for low-impact tourism with due regard given to its indigenous tribes.
Pantai Air Papan in Mersing, Johor, on the other hand is a popular destination for locals and day trippers who fancy a swim and some fun in the sun. This new industry will also benefit local Small and Medium Enterprises while providing job opportunities within the vicinity to locals.
“Caravanning is one of the safest forms of holiday in these times, as you travel individually with a leisure vehicle and only with people from your own household and are largely self-sufficient thanks to your own sleeping, living, cooking and sanitary facilities,” said the Managing Director of CIVD, Daniel Onggowinarso.
“Malaysia is a blessed with beautiful destinations which are suitable for caravanning tourism. From the engagements that we have with the ministries and agencies, we can see the potential of setting up a caravan hub here in Malaysia, especially the ECER.
“We look forward to exploring prospective investment opportunities and partnerships for the caravanning industry in the ECER,” he added.
The demand for RV has been growing tremendously in our neighbouring regions such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, and Korea. In 2020, Australia recorded 45,000 units of new RV registration, whereby 20% of it was imported from China.