Melaka, 21 Oct 2013 – The Asia-Pacific Region will be the fastest growing market in terms of inbound and outbound tourism with arrivals projected to increase significantly by 330 million within two decades from 204 million in 2010 to 535 million in 2030, said the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his keynote address during the opening of the World Tourism Conference (WTC) 2013 at the Equatorial Hotel, Melaka.
“The outlook for tourism is certainly very bright. My sense of optimism is based mainly on the key trends of a growing world population from 7.1 billion in 2012 to 8.3 billion in 2030 with rising income and quality of life. Consequently, there will be a greater wealth effect that will result in an increasingly higher demand for travel worldwide,” he said.
The 3rd WTC themed ‘Global Tourism: Game Changers and Pace Setters’, is organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia together with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the State Government of Melaka from the 21st until the 23rd of October 2013.
The event drew 40 international participants and 590 local participants, including eight ministers and deputy ministers from different countries, besides Heads of National Tourism Organisations, senior officials and professionals from airlines, hospitality and travel trade.
The main thrust on the conference is to deliberate on global tourism planning, development and marketing, besides sharing successful strategies of leading destinations and organisations in the global tourism industry that can be applied to generate increased income and accelerated growth of the industry.
The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that globally the international tourist arrivals grew at a faster rate during the first half of 2013 at 5% compared to the projected growth rate of 3% to 4% for 2013, indicating that the tourism industry exceeded expectations and would remain robust.
“In the case of Malaysia, one pivotal game changer is the role of the Government to target and advance tourism as a priority sector through the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) under the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP). The theme, ‘Global Tourism: Game Changers and Pace Setters’, is certainly appropriate, relevant and timely as nations move forward to tap the full potential of the tourism industry,” he elaborated.
During his address, Tan Sri Muhyiddin took the opportunity to share with participants the vital role and commitment of the Government towards tourism as a key driver to the national economy, development of innovative products, VMY success stories and mega events as among the game changers in Malaysia’s tourism industry.
Several prominent local, regional and international professionals and tourism practitioners deliberated on the key areas centred on:
a) Beyond Mass Tourism – how destinations can prosper with higher yield markets by capitalising on niche products priced correctly and targeted to the right markets.
b) Innovative Marketing – importance of creating innovative products and a strong brand identity to ensure dynamism and continuous progress.
c) Tourism Product Development – exploring potential tourism products such as homestay and its variants, domestic tourism, youth and Gen Y travellers, synergies between conservation and commercial viability.
The conference is concluded with a debate session entitled ‘Boon or Bane of the Tourism Sector’ on the positive and negative impacts of tourism and mega events, low cost carriers and cruise tourism, involving the Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia X Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia), Mr. Azran Osman Rani; the Advisor to the Tourism Minister of South Africa, Mr. Shaun Vorster; and the General Manager of Asia Cruise Association, Mr. Kelvin Leong.