The tourism industry is set to expand – Ahead of ITB Berlin 2019 the new government of Malaysia, the Official Partner Country, reiterates its aim to increase its tourism policy commitments.
BERLIN – Tourism as a key economic force: Malaysia, the Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin, which will take place from 6 to 10 March 2019 on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds, is aiming to strengthen its tourism industry. At present, the tourism industry accounts for around 15 per cent of the economy, a workforce of some 3.2 million people, and 22.7 per cent of Malaysia’s total employment figure. In order to further develop tourism in this country in Southeast Asia, Tourism Malaysia is focusing on improving scheduled air services and chartered flights by partnering with various airlines.“The Malaysian government is offering special incentives to attract international airlines. By June of this year we were able to offer 2.8 million seats monthly, 14 per cent up from the June 2017 figure. Beginning in November Germany’s Condor airline will fly from Frankfurt to Kuala Lumpur“, said Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and CultureYB Tuan Mohamaddin Ketapi.
Speaking at the recent Travel Mart of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in Langkawi, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said: ”Last year we welcomed a total of 25.9 million tourists and registered RM 82.2 billion in receipts. We are looking to attract 30 million tourists by 2020.” The deputy prime minister emphasised that tourism was a key economic factor and of great importance to the new administration, and assured all its investors that Malaysia would remain a strategic partner for their investment plans. ”We aim to continue maintaining good bilateral ties with all countries and to grow as an international platform for partnerships, trade and investment“, she said.
Value for money, growth in the hotel industry and new attractions
Malaysia’s tourism attractions are as diverse as the country itself. They range from million-year old rainforests, islands and beaches to shopping and luxury holidays. ”Due to the favourable exchange rate Malaysia is a value-for-money destination. Hotels, food, beverages and holiday attractions are among the world’s lowest-priced, while high-quality all the same“, said Dr. Wan Azizah. According to the deputy prime minister, since 2017 the hotel sector has expanded by 250 new hotels, an increase of 8.5 per cent, and a further 130 hotels featuring 26,000 rooms are planned. "We are pleased that well-known brands such as Westin, Mercure, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Four Seasons and Hyatt have recognised how valuable Malaysia is for their expansion and investment plans", she said.
Impressive tourist attractions currently under development include the Desaru Coast resort featuring a water park, golf courses and a conference centre in Johor, an ultra-modern complex in the coastal city of Melaka, and the 20th Century Fox World theme park in Genting Highlands. Dr. Wan Ismail added: ”Malaysia is also an ideal destination for MICE and business events as well as weddings and honeymoons. Malaysia is also drawing attention as a filming location. Over the past few months the box office hit Crazy Rich Asians was shot mainly in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi.“ At the end of her speech Dr. Wan Ismail listed the success factors for tourism in Malaysia: political stability, world-class facilities, the strategic location, diverse attractions, every category of accommodation, a favourable exchange rate, hospitality, excellent cuisine and outstanding service.
Malaysia can boost its international presence as the partner country of ITB Berlin 2019
”We are deeply grateful to receive the title of ’Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin‘. It draws global attention and has the potential to reach out to key decision-makers and leading industry players in the region“, is how Malaysia’s Tourism Minister Tuan Mohamaddin Ketapi valued the significance of the country’s role as partner country of ITB Berlin 2019. “Our advertising and promotional campaigns have been enhanced with digital marketing on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in order to boost our international presence and reach out to an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy tourism market", the minister said. This year, Malaysia was also awarded the title of Preferred Destination Partner of the European Travel Agencies and Tour Operator's Association (ECTAA), which consists of 32 travel agent and tour operator associations from 30 European countries with 70,000 enterprises.
In order to position Malaysia as a winter holiday destination and further develop the luxury market the tourism authorities are working closely with Thomson Cruises. For the TUI cruise ship Discovery Cruise, for example, Langkawi will be its home port. Around 7,200 cruise passengers are expected to go on board by the year’s end. Another important step is the establishment of a German TUI office in Malaysia, the first in Southeast Asia. “The presence of TUI on our shores is a testament to the organisation’s confidence in Malaysia,” said Tuan Mohamaddin Ketapi.