By Tourism Malaysia on March 7, 2019
BERLIN, GERMANY, 6 MARCH 2019, 2 PM: Tourism Malaysia is stepping up its promotions this year in preparation of Visit Malaysia 2020, a landmark campaign that’s targeted to bring in 30 million international tourists and approximately £21.63 billion (RM100 billion) in tourist receipts into Malaysia.
Its participation in ITB Berlin 2019 as Official Partner Country is a key initiative to ensure the campaign’s success where it is enjoying prominent visibility among the event’s industry visitors from around the world.
The event is a timely platform for Malaysia to highlight its new tourist attractions, featured destinations and interest to work with key industry players for strategic growth.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, YB Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi says, “Malaysia has all the attractions that appeal to travellers from this region, from nature retreats, to modern and affordable shopping, cuisine, culture and luxury experiences.”
This year’s delegation to ITB Berlin comprises of 11 state tourism boards, 32 tour operators, 30 hotels and resorts, two airlines, four tourism service providers and four tourism related agencies. There are a total of 136 participants representing 83 organisations taking part from Malaysia, with major players and sponsors being Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, Putrajaya Corporation, Selangor, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, Condor Airlines and Desaru Coast.
Malaysia’s presence at ITB Berlin this year focuses heavily on ecotourism and cultural attractions, with Putrajaya Corporation, Selangor, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak and Desaru Coast aggressively promoting their latest tourism offerings such as birdwatching in Putrajaya, Sky Mirror in Selangor, Danum Valley in Sabah, heritage trails in Sarawak, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Penang, and the new integrated destination attraction of Desaru Coast.
The Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council will also take centre-stage at ITB to present on Malaysia as a high quality yet affordable healthcare destination among travellers seeking treatments. The Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 will also be promoted, along with plans for more public-private partnerships to grow the niche sector.
Banking on Malaysia’s rich culture appeal, Tourism Malaysia has engaged Istana Budaya, Sarawak Cultural Troupe, Mah Meri, Putrajaya and Sabah Cultural Board to perform and showcase Malaysia’s music and dance repertoire for the public.
Last year, tourist arrivals to Malaysia from Western Europe countries (including Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland), grew by 12.1%, bringing in a total of 411,067 tourists. Germany contributed 9,542 tourists to Malaysia, a growth of 17.4%.
“We are encouraged by the growth of the West Europe market thanks to the implementation of several key initiatives last year,” the Minister said. He was referring to several initiatives implemented last year including Malaysia being made ECTAA Preferred Destination Partner for 2018; the tactical campaign with Condor Air for the winter scheduled charter flights from Frankfurt to Kuala Lumpur; and the joint partnership with TUI for a Fly and Cruise initiative.
Plans to further grow and support this market include Tourism Malaysia’s intention to work with international airlines to increase connectivity to Malaysia from several long-haul destinations. A Memorandum of Joint Cooperation (MoJC) will be signed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, Toruism Malaysia and Condor Airlines for summer scheduled charter flights. This follows the successful implementation of the winter scheduled charter flights which began last year.
The German market has demonstrated to be a potentially strong market for Malaysia to pursue. In 2018, Malaysia received a total of 128,644 German tourists, representing a 17.1% growth from 2017. In 2019, Malaysia targets 147,000 tourists from Germany to revive Malaysia’s position as a choice holiday destination particularly from this market.
One of the newest tourist attractions in Malaysia is Desaru Coast, an integrated destination spanning 3,900 acres along a pristine 17 km beachfront with world-class golf, hotels, theme park, retail and food & beverage facilities. The surrounding area of fruit farms, agriculture farms and natural mangroves add to the scenic appeal.
One of the most-visited states in Malaysia, Selangor has several attractive new tourism offerings including Sky Mirror, a secret “island” right in the middle of the sea that has become popularly known as the “Salar de Uyuni” of Malaysia; free guided heritage walks of the royal town of Klang; Selangor Fruit Valley; and Tanjung Sepat coastal town, an emerging eco/agrotourism destination.
Sabah is known as an adventure paradise for good reason. The three highest peaks in Malaysia are all located in Sabah, i.e. Mount Kinabalu, Mount Trusmadi and Mount Tambayukon. In addition, it offers underwater adventures with diving and water activities at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Sipadan Island. There are opportunities to see the orangutan, sun bears, the proboscis monkey and many species of birds. Exciting adventures also await travellers at Danum Valley, a pristine forest that was once visited by Sir David Attenborough.
Sarawak has a rich history and cultural background. Explore its historic legacies with a walking tour of Kuching city, a beautifully-romantic riverside settlement. Or visit central Sarawak into Iban heartland with settlements along Malaysia’s longest river, the mighty Rejang that reaches the last frontier town of Belaga and passing through some rugged yet beautiful sceneries.
Penang’s capital, George Town, was inscribed into UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2008 where it features Malaysia’s well-restored traditional architecture plus a multitude of heritage trades and arts. According to UNESCO, the city represents an exceptional example of a multicultural trading town in Southeast Asia forged from the mercantile and civilisation exchanges of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences. All this results in a modern and vibrant Penang that offers unique and colourful experiences centred around food, architecture, lifestyle, art and culture.
The administrative capital city, Putrajaya, is an urban ecotourism destination and home to one of the most unique green spaces in the world with 40% of the area made up of wetlands, lakes, parks and open spaces, creating a perfect balance between development and nature.
Malaysia has grown to become a globally renowned destination for healthcare at its finest, providing affordable healthcare services to all. Since 2011, Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry has recorded a double digit growth annually and in 2017, more than 1 million healthcare travellers sought treatments in Malaysia.
Experiential travel is a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by actively and meaningfully engaging with its history, people, culture, food and environment. Malaysia with its unique cultural make-up and key historical role in the region is rich in story and big on authenticity. The country is a melting pot of cultures; past and present collide creating a unique experience that can’t be found in any other region in Asia.
Strategically positioned in the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is the perfect stopover for travellers who linger in the country to sample its many delights before moving onwards to their next destination. However not all of these visitors are human; Malaysia plays host to more than 100 species of migratory birds that fly thousands of kilometres annually to escape the winter or to reach breeding grounds. Malaysia itself is home to more than 1,100 species of birds both in Peninsular and East Malaysia. Lush rainforests cover more than 60% of Malaysia with 18.7% (3.82 million hectares) classified as primary forest (the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest). With world-class tourism infrastructure, a wealth of tourism attractions, an active and avid bird-watching community and extensive connectivity options, bird-watchers to the region will not be disappointed with their visit.