By Nuar Md Diah on March 12, 2012
PUTRAJAYA, 7 March 2012 : The Malaysia Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 that showcased a unique Minangkabau-style rooftop in batik painting is set to be rebuilt at the tourism zone in Weifang Binhai Economic & Technological Development Area (BEDA), China. Tourism Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Agreement today with the Administrative Committee of Weifang BEDA to grant them the licence to use the design of the Malaysia Pavilion.
During the Shanghai World Expo 2010, the Malaysia Pavilion has successfully attracted 6.9 million visitors. The agreement will increase the publicity of Malaysia in China and boost the tourism development in Weifang. Most importantly, it is seen as an effort to further strengthen tourism and cultural cooperation between Malaysia and China and enhance the friendship between both countries. Representing the Administrative Committee of Weifang BEDA at the signing ceremony at Tourism Malaysia’s office in Putrajaya was its Director of Planning Bureau Madam Li Bing, along with its Director of Building Management Office of Tourism Resort Mr. Wang Weiyong, and the General Manager of Weifang Sime Darby Port Co. Ltd. Madam Liu Xiuli.
The Acting Director General of Tourism Malaysia YBhg. Dato’ Hj Azizan Noordin, signed the memorandum on behalf of Tourism Malaysia. The ceremony was also attended by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism YBhg. Dato’ Dr. Ong Hong Peng, and the Deputy Director General (Marketing) of Tourism Malaysia Madam Chong Yoke Har. The proposal by Weifang BEDA to rebuild the Malaysia Pavilion in China was one of the six that Tourism Malaysia received after the Shanghai World Expo ended on 31 October 2010. After much evaluation, Weifang BEDA’s proposal was found to be the most suitable. Besides, the Malaysian Ambassador in China has also strongly recommended Weifang as the place to rebuild the Malaysia Pavilion. Among the assistance agreed to be rendered by Tourism Malaysia based on the memorandum include sponsoring the display items in the Pavilion that portray the Malaysian culture. Tourism Malaysia will also assist in engaging the same painters or other painters with the equivalent skill for the painting of the batik rooftop. The cost of building the Pavilion and the travelling cost of technical personnel and specialists from Malaysia will be fully borne by Weifang BEDA. The construction of the Malaysia Pavilion in Weifang BEDA will commence once the memorandum of agreement is signed. It is scheduled to be completed in late August 2012.
Weifang is a prefecture-level city in central Shandong province of the People’s Republic of China, with a population of 8.5 million. Shandong Weifang BEDA was established in August 1995 with the approval from Shandong Provincial Government and the accreditation of the National Development and Reform Commission. BEDA is located in the northern part of Shandong Peninsula and the southern coast of Bohai Sea,the largest inner sea in China. Covering an area of 677 square kilometers, BEDA itself has a population of 100,000. China has always been one of the top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia. In fact, it was ranked fourth in 2010 and 2011, with 1.13 million tourists and 1.25 million tourists, respectively, visiting Malaysia. In terms of top 10 tourist receipts, China was at the third spot in the year 2010, contributing RM3 billion to Malaysia’s tourism revenue. Such performances clearly showed the importance of China market to Malaysia’s tourism industry. As far as connectivity is concerned, currently there are about 130 weekly flights plying between China and Malaysia, providing about 30,000 seats per week.