KUALA LUMPUR: Minister for Culture and Tourism Nazri Aziz claimed that in the short term the weaker ringgit would have a beneficial impact on the local tourism industry,
He, however, acknowledged that he was among a minority who could see positives in the currency’s recent plunge.
According to Bank Negara, the ringgit closed yesterday at RM3.7345 to the US Dollar and RM2.7799 to the Singapore Dollar.
“One of the few people who are happy that the ringgit has gone down is me,” he told reporters yesterday, because it would allow tourists to stretch their currency.
He said that the lower ringgit would make Malaysian goods cheap, leaving the tourists feeling rich, with a lot of money to spend.
“Certainly they will feel like rich tourists,” he said.
Nazri also said that because the ringgit has gone down Malaysians will think twice about travelling overseas given that the exchange rate will become less favourable, which will in turn spur domestic tourism.
“I think in the next few months domestic and foreign tourism can improve a lot,” he said.
A weaker ringgit will also boost exports and foreign investments, but will make imports more expensive, Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said yesterday.
“However, this situation won’t be long,” he added according to The Malaysian Insider, saying that Malaysia’s economic fundamentals remain strong which would allow the local currency to strengthen.