Jan 28, 2015

Dato' Mirza DG sp at ATF Gala Dinner

“MALAYSIA GALA DINNER” SPEECH
BY
YBHG DATO’ MIRZA MOHAMMAD TAIYAB
DIRECTOR GENERAL, TOURISM MALAYSIA

ASEAN TOURISM FORUM 2015
MAX HOTEL, MYANMAR
28 JANUARY 2015

(8 to 11 minutes’ duration, depending on speed of speech)


Salutations

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome and pleasantries

1. Good evening. On behalf of Tourism Malaysia, it gives me great pleasure to bid you a warm welcome to the Malaysia Gala Dinner and the launching of Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.

2. We are pleased to be back at the ASEAN Tourism Forum to meet with the top tour operators from all over the world who are interested in the ASEAN region as a holiday destination.

3. This ATF in Myanmar marks the first international platform in which Tourism Malaysia is taking part this year. Once again, our delegation is well represented with a total of 55 organisations that include tour operators, hotels, theme parks, tourist attractions and the Government sector.

4. May I at this point invite members of the Malaysia delegation to stand up to be recognised, and greet all our esteemed guests. Thank you.

Introduction to MyFest 2015

Ladies and gentlemen,

5. How quickly time flies! We are entering February soon, which means that the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign has ended. Though it was a challenging year for Malaysia, our tourism industry sustained well with 22.9 million tourist arrivals up until October last year, an improvement of 9.6% compared to the same period in the previous year.

6. We continue our promotions of Malaysia in 2015 with a new campaign, Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 or MyFest for short, for which we hope to receive your support.

7. Due to the diverse population of Malaysia, we naturally have many cultural and religious holidays and celebrations. In fact, throughout 2015, there are almost 50 public holidays observed in Malaysia! Of course, some of these are declared national public holidays while others are only celebrated at the state level or within a particular region.

8. One thing for sure, Malaysians celebrate each other’s cultural and religious festivals in a practice that we call the “Malaysia Open House. We literally open the doors of our homes to welcome family, friends and neighbours during a celebration to share food, friendship and festivities. This is the tradition you will find in Malaysia.

9. For 2015, we have listed out over 50 signature events in our calendar that we consider best reflect the diversity of Malaysia. Of course, the calendar lists down religious celebrations such as Deepavali, Chinese New Year and Aidilfitri, for which tourists can celebrate with the public at the National Open Houses, typically marked by street food samplings and cultural shows.

10. The calendar also has events that highlight our unique heritage in cuisine, music, theatre, past times and so on. These events can be incorporated into interesting itineraries and packages that translate into memorable holidays in Malaysia for your clients.

Future plans

Ladies and gentlemen,

11. We look forward to another great year of tourism in 2015 for several reasons:

a. The chairmanship for ASEAN is taken up by Malaysia this year, and we have been tasked to lead discussions and resolutions on important developments in the areas of community-building, economic integration and the Asian multilateral groupings, which will have impact on our tourism.

b. The implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community this year will have bearing on the region’s tourism industry as it will mean better facilitation of travel, competitive prices, more travel choices, and so on.

c. ASEAN Tourism Packages have been developed to offer the best of ASEAN to tourists. Tourists can choose from four themed tours to explore the region, i.e. community, nature, culture & heritage and cruise & river-based tours. Special intra-ASEAN packages involving travel to three or four countries in the region are also available to experience the various ASEAN countries.

d. Our new KLIA2 airport has been in operation since mid- 2014, catering to the growth in low-cost carrier services, and offering a smooth travel experience. This “airport within a mall” has more than 400 dining and retail establishments. Connection to Kuala Lumpur is also a breeze with a high-speed rail service that takes only 33 minutes from point to point.

e. In May, we are excited to welcome British Airways back to our shores with their daily, non-stop LondonKuala Lumpur flights. This will add to the 2,800 weekly flights serving Malaysia last year, and definitely complement our efforts to attract more European travelers who will benefit from the current foreign exchange rate

New tourist attractions

12. Besides the list of events for MyFest, this year will also see several new tourist attractions coming on board. This includes:

a. The new royal status of our highly popular flower show, Floria, which will be known as The Royal Floria Putrajaya beginning this year

b. “MUD – Our Story of Kuala Lumpur” a musical theatre show playing at one Kuala Lumpur’s historic theatre establishments, which we feel has high potential to be packaged as a tourist attraction

c. The new China-Malaysia Friendship Garden in Putrajaya inspired by the gardens of the Chinese royal courts

d. The premium brands shopping outlet, Mitsui Outlet Park which lies just 7km away from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, making it a great gateway and transit shopping for tourists. It will open in the second quarter of the year.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen,

13. This is an important year for Malaysia. The major national tourism campaign, MyFest, will help put us at the forefront to receive a huge inflow of tourists and meet our target of 36 million arrivals and RM168 billion (or USD47 billion) in receipts by 2020.

14. With the favourable foreign exchange rate against the Malaysia Ringgit, a holiday in Malaysia has become much more affordable to tourists. Tourists from countries with stronger currencies are able to spend more with their money in Malaysia on hotels, dining, lifestyle and luxury experiences, and so on. Whether it’s cultural diversity, natural wonders, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or shopping that you are looking for – you can find it all in Malaysia, affordably.

15. Therefore, we look forward to working with you, the tour operators and media, for mutual benefit in promoting Malaysia as a top-of-mind holiday destinations for your clients and readers.

16. I would like to say a special thank you to Malaysia Airlines as our main sponsor, and Istana Budaya and singer Ms. Stefaine for their performances tonight. For now, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the programme that we’ve put together especially for you.

Thank you.

END

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