KUALA LUMPUR, 25 AUGUST 2009 Malaysia's first tourism-technology development programme has received backing from the country's finance ministry.
Ministry of finance company Cradle Fund, which manages the Cradle Investment Programme (CIP), signed a deal with local tourism technology firm Creative Advances Technology (CAT) to launch the CAT-CRADLE SOTA Technopreneur Development Collaboration.
Speaking at the SOTA (Standard Online Tourism Architecture) 2009 conference, Cradle chief executive officer Nazrin Hassan said: The collaboration is based on CAT's Standard Online Tourism Architecture (SOTA), a consolidated tourism e-business platform that will unite government agencies, various sectors of the travel industry, and consumers.
The online platform includes components for travel packages, hotel and flight bookings, and other travel-related technology integral to the entire supply chain of the tourism industry, said Hassan.
Cradle Investment Programme (CIP), a fund managed by Cradle Fund (CFSB) under the auspices of the Ministry of finance, is Malaysia's first development and pre-seed funding programme, which enables Malaysia's budding innovators and aspiring innovative entrepreneurs to commercially develop their technology-oriented ideas.
Elevate status of Malaysia tourism
This partnership works towards common goals, which are to elevate the status of Malaysia tourism through the development of innovative tourism technologies by local technopreneurs, said CAT chief executive officer, Rohizam Md Yusoff.
Yusoff said Cradle would be screening through the applications and providing the funds, while CAT would provide the SOTA platform on which technopreneurs can build upon. Over the span of nine years, CAT has been an e-business catalyst for the Malaysian tourism industry having developed online B2B [business to business] and B2C [business to consumer] business platforms consisting of e-commerce solutions, an integrated e-marketplace, extensive information and rich media content, and enabled technologies that suit the travel industry.
All these culminated into the US$5.7 million (RM20 million) SOTA platform that was introduced to the trade last year, he said. More than 750 participating travel agents, airlines, hotels and travel suppliers have signed up on the SOTA platform since. Technopreneurs can be assured there will be an existing base of customers the moment they roll out their innovation.
Tourism is the second largest income earner for the country, said Cradle's Hassan. As reported in our Malaysia Tourism Report (second quarter, 2009), we have a total of 22.05 million foreign tourists' arrivals and a total of US$13.67 billion (RM48 billion) tourism receipts in 2008, an increase of 5.1 per cent year-on-year. Tourism remains a catalyst to the country's gross domestic product and, more importantly, to the economic, social and cultural well-being of our community.
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