DUBAI, 9 May 2013 – In promoting Visit Malaysia Year 2014, the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) is participating in the four-day Arabian Travel Market 2013 (ATM) held at Dubai, UAE, which concludes today. This is an event held annually to attract sellers from all over the world offering packages to Arab tourists before the summer peak season from June to September.
This year’s ATM attracted 2,500 exhibitors who were placed across eight halls at the venue. These sellers comprised of representatives from tourism organizations, airlines, travel agents, media and other travel related corporations. The 2013 ATM saw the participation of a strong Malaysian delegation comprising 120 sellers from 77 organisations representing hotels, travel agencies, tourism products owners and various state governments including Tourism Unit of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) and Tourism Selangor.
Tourism Malaysia has been participating in this travel fair since 1994 and this is for the 20th time. The Malaysia Pavillion at Hall 1 of the Sheikh Saeed Arena takes up 650 square metres making it the largest Malaysia Pavilion ever. The delegation from Malaysia is led by Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin, Deputy Director General (Planning). Also present in the group are board members of Tourism Malaysia Datuk Haji Mohd Ilyas Zainol Abidin, President of Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), and Dato’ Haji Mohd Khalid Harun, President of Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agencies (MATTA). The delegation is also supported by HE Dato’ Ahmad Anwar Adnan, Malaysian Ambassador to the UAE and Dato’ Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, Consul General of Malaysia in Dubai.
The launch of the pavilion was officiated by Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin in the presence of dignitaries from the local industry players as well as the royal family of UAE. His Highness Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman & Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group paid a visit to Malaysia Pavilion. To attract more visitors to the pavilion, Tourism Malaysia also brought along the national dance troupe from Istana Budaya to perform cultural shows while a batik painter gives demonstrations of the batik making process.
The objective of this year’s participation is to launch Visit Malaysia Year 2014 packages. It is also to introduce new products that Malaysia has to offer such as Legoland, Hello Kitty, Johor Premium Outlet amongst others.
Last year, Malaysia received 370,535 from West Asia market showing an increase of 3.2%. As it is a matured market, Tourism Malaysia is now promoting new niche packages to the market such as golfing, diving, health tourism, soft adventure and cycling. Homestay packages are one of the new initiatives to get the younger Arab tourists to experience the Malaysian village lifestyle.
In launching the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign, a gala dinner was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on May 7, 2013. The event was hosted by Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin and well attended by over 300 guests comprised of media and industry players from the local market and other markets such Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & South Africa. The highlights of the dinner were a presentation on Visit Malaysia Year packages and the cultural performance by the Istana Budaya troupe.
There was also a special media briefing presentation during the travel mart. Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin gave an overview of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 packages to the media and the tourism industry followed by a special presentation by Puan Noraza Yusof of Kuala Lumpur City Hall and, the launch of the new portal ‘Naturally Langkawi’ in English & Arabic languages by Tan Sri Khalid Ramli of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA). About 72 media representatives were present at the briefing.
As a follow up to the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 launch, there were other launches at the pavilion from
May 7 to 8, which include packages from the major tour operators such as Unique Choice and Al Rais Holidays, and from Malaysia Health Tourism Council (MHTC). In addition, Tourism Malaysia Dubai launched its ipad application for the tour packages and Media Hub, a local Dubai public relation agency launched Aswaq Tourist Guide Handbook 2013.
As a strategy to get more international airlines to fly to Kuala Lumpur or to increase flight frequency, Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin also met with Chief Executive Officers of the airlines based in the West Asia region which includes Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways. They are very pleased with the load factor that they are carrying between Middle East and Malaysia.
Overall Tourism Malaysia’s participation was well received by the local industry players. The Malaysian industry players were happy to promote their products and packages to make Visit Malaysia Year 2014 a success. One of the feedback received was from one of the delegates, Mr. Dave Chow of MP Travels, who commented that the sales were good and that he had closed some deals till the end of the year. Meanwhile Mr. Shim Chee Hong of Lexis Hotel Port Dickson vouched that the response from the foreign buyers at the mart was very encouraging.
In expanding Tourism Malaysia’s promotional effort, Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin will continue to lead the mission to Oman (May 11 to 12) and Kuwait (May 13 to 14). A smaller delegation of 27 members will be participating in the mission to these countries. The programmes for these two countries will include a press conference and mini travel mart with the local travel agents followed by a gala dinner.