Taylor's FSLM Journals
Malaysia as a Food-Haven Destination: The Vision and its Sustainability

@ Asia-Pacific Journal of Innovation in Hospitality and Tourism

Online ISSN: 2710-6519

Laurence Tibere & Marcella Aloysius


The paper uses a case study of food and culinary tourism development in Malaysia,
to explore the relationship between food heritage, its economic function and tourists.
Drawing on qualitative informal interviews with government officers from the Ministry of Tourism, we used an approach based upon a generalisation of knowledge in relation to food as a cultural product in the tourism development plan. Simultaneously, we gathered existing data from the Eighth National Plan (8NP), 2000-2005 to Ninth National Plan (9NP), 2006-2010 and 1Malaysia Tourism Key Performance Indicators (1MTKPI) 2010. Our narrative findings show that food heritage has yet to be incorporated in the national sustainable development plan of tourism. Nonetheless, the food and beverage segment is not totally neglected especially in the national promotional and marketing activity plan. Concomitantly, the country has a vision to be the most competitive food-haven destination in the region. Such conclusions posited are vital for our understanding of the links between food heritage as a cultural tourism product and its sustainability in the global, regional and domestic market. This paper points to the importance of having a comprehensive sustainable culinary tourism development plan that needs to be integrated into the country’s national plan. We suggest that the government consider building a supportive policy and planning framework that is conducive to national food heritage development. Simultaneously, they need to be more cautious in making food identity as a commodity tourism product through the current extensive marketing and promotional activities. This could result in negative implications on the sustainability of their food heritage and may risk losing the national cultural integrity value, either through ethnicisation or the de-ethnicisation processes.

Keywords: Food heritage, sustainable development, cultural valorisation, food-haven
destination, national plan, food identity