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Malaysia commited to developing cruise tourism

Themed "Maritime Silk Road (MSR) – From Macau we begin,” the Global Tourism Economic Forum (GTEF) led discussions on the transformation of the MSR region and the tourism industry’s role as its driving force.

MACAU – The Chairman of Tourism Malaysia Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, attended the third round of Global Tourism Economic Forum (GTEF) at the Venetian Hotel, Macau, recently as a panelist in an open forum discussion.   
Themed “Maritime Silk Road (MSR) – From Macau we begin,” the forum led discussions on the transformation of the MSR region and the tourism industry’s role as its driving force. The forum also addressed issues faced by countries involved in the MSR route and explored new paths of growth for the travel and tourism industry.  
In her session, Tan Sri Ng stated that the Malaysia government was committed to the development of cruise tourism, saying “Malaysia is developing and upgrading our hubs for cruise tourism and the Government is fully supportive of making Malaysia the main cruise tourism playground of the east.
Tan Sri Ng also spoke about ASEAN member states’ commitment to improving tourism infrastructure in the region as part of the ASEAN Economic Community integration, saying that cruise tourism was an opportunity to attract more tourists to ASEAN.  
Cruise tourism is among the key focus areas of Malaysia’s tourism development plans. Under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), efforts to grow this segment have resulted in the establishment of the Malaysia Cruise Council (MCC), a policy-making advisory committee comprising representatives from both public and private sectors, including the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Ministry of Transport and local port authorities.   
Plans are also underway for the development of a Straits Riviera in Malaysia, comprising six primary ports, i.e. Penang, Port Klang, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi, Melaka, Kuching and other secondary ports.  
As reported in the ETP Annual Report 2013, the total number of cruise calls at the six primary ports in 2013 is approximately 359 calls. Larger ships are now coming to Malaysia, including the Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, a 3,800-passenger ship that sailed to Southeast Asia in 2013.  
The two-day forum, organised by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre, gathered more than 1,000 participants comprising local and international government officials from China, Iran, Cambodia, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Dubai, UNWTO, PATA as well international travel and trade members such as hoteliers, tourism officers, airlines and airport representatives, tour operators and tourism product operators.  
Among the topics discussed were:  
– Tourism – A driving force for cooperation on the  21st Century Maritime Silk Road 
– Maritime Silk Road: Tourism for future tourists ? The New Maritime Silk Road  
– Creative Strategies to win today and tomorrow “Shaping the present for the future”  
Among the prominent panel members of the forum were:   
His Execellency Massoud Soltanifar, Vice President of Islamic of Iran; President of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organisation 
Mr. Tith Chan Tha, Secretary of State of Tourism of Cambodia 
Mr. Darko Lorencin, Minister of Tourism of Croatia 
Mr. Marcio Favilla, Executive Director Operational Programme and Institutional Relation (UNWTO) 
Mr. Rapil Zhoshybayev, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan  
Mr. Yaddehige Don Nihal Jayathilaka, Secretary of the Ministry of Economy Development of Sri Lanka  
Mr. Xu Jing, Regional Director Asia and the Pacific UNWTO, Executive Secretary of the General Assembly and the Executive Council UNWTO 
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Chairman of Tourism Malaysia 
Mr. Yousuf Ahmad Lootah, Executive Director, Tourism Development and Investment Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing Government of Dubai 
Lord Tim Clement-Jones, London Managing Partner and DLA Piper UK LLP 
Mr. Georgios Drakopoulos, Special Advisor to UNWTO Secretary General on Private Sector Relation 
Mr. Arthur De Haast, Chairman Hotel and Hospitality Group JLL
Mr. Peter Meier – CEO Kuoni Group
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