Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin began his career in travel and tourism by joining the Tourist Development Corporation Malaysia, now known as Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board or Tourism Malaysia, back in 1978 as a Tourist Officer.
Today, even after 34 years in service, Dato’ Azizan still remains loyal to Tourism Malaysia. His advancement through rank and file during the years in service allowed him to amass a wealth of priceless experience and knowledge that greatly benefit the Malaysian tourism industry.
Dato’ Azizan’s most memorable moments at work: Pioneered the Tourism Malaysia Office in Seoul in 1991 and Jeddah in 2001, thus successfully opened up the Korean and Arabian / Middle Eastern markets respectively.
Brought in the American Chopper team to create the 1Malaysia Chopper, which was launched by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, The Right Honourable Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, in 2012. Selected and currently serving as an Executive Board Member of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
Successfully headed the bidding and hosting of the PATA Conference in Kuala Lumpur in 2012. Dato’ Azizan’s take on the Malaysian tourism industry: When he first started, most of the travellers to Malaysia that time comprised incentive groups rather than free and independent travellers (FITs). These days, the FITs make up the chunk of tourist arrivals to Malaysia.
The industry has come a long way and now becomes more sophisticated and personalised compared to before. Malaysia now has developed its own high end niche tourism, focussing on luxurious travel experiences to the jet setters and the well-heeled. had also been opened in New Zealand (Auckland) and Kazakhstan (Almaty) while new market areas such as in the eastern province of Russia (Vladivostok) were penetrated to extend reach.
Though new markets are continuously being explored, traditional markets such as Western and Northern Europe, Northern America, Australia and Japan are considered as the mainstays and crucial to Malaysia’s tourism industry since tourists from these markets tend to stay longer and hold currencies that afford them with greater purchasing power.
Apart from advertising, another effort constantly carried out by Tourism Malaysia is conducting roadshows, besides participating in major international travel fairs such as the ASEAN Tourism Forum, International Tourism Bourse in Berlin and World Travel Mart in London. On average, Tourism Malaysia participates in more than 400 local and international travel fairs, expositions, workshops and seminars annually.
In preparation for Visit Malaysia Year 2014, Tourism Malaysia will look at how the trends move and will strategise accordingly. What will definitely be carried out throughout 2013 is the intensive promotions and publicity blitz worldwide.
Malaysia’s world class telecommunications, highways and general infrastructure help to make travelling around the country convenient, thus a boon for all tourists. The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme also helps to boost Malaysia’s positioning as one of the best places for
foreigners to live, especially among the silver-haired generation (those above 50 years of age).
What makes Malaysia’s tourism industry competitive is because it acts fast to accommodate to market conditions – when there is a slowdown in one of the markets, for example the US or Europe, Tourism Malaysia together with Malaysia’s tourism players will quickly shift their efforts towards other markets such as China, India, Indonesia, the Middle East, Central Asian countries and Russia.
The best tourism experience was when having to deal with SARS in 2003. To convince Middle Eastern tourists that Malaysia was not affected by SARS, Dato’ Azizan led the delegation that conducted roadshows in seven Gulf Corporation Council states in the span of only nine days, thus managed to sustain tourist arrivals from that market during that year. The Middle Eastern market is among the most important to Malaysia.
What helps Malaysia able to garner the position as one of the top ten tourism destinations in the world is its decisive strategy in opening itself up to as many markets as possible, which translates to the presence of various Tourism Malaysia offices worldwide. All markets therefore are deemed important and promotions are constantly carried out. As a matter of fact, new offices