Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism made a stopover in Vancouver recently to launch the country’s coming Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, who is the Southeast Asian country’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, is taking a hands-on approach to ensure Malaysia’s overseas tourism offices are prepared for the country’s ambitious global campaign for the year ahead.
At a press conference delivered to Vancouver’s media, Aziz’s charismatic and open approach set the tone for the evening and also infused the city’s travel industry providers with a sense of confidence for the year ahead.
The Minister said he was seeking to significantly increase visitors from Canada by an additional 8.5% to a target of nearly 100,000 Canadians for 2014. Overall Aziz’s global vision is to pilot Malaysia up the ranking list for the most visited countries from its current position of 10th.
At the press conference, Aziz also introduced the mascot for Visit Malaysia 2014.
“We have chosen the proboscis monkey as our campaign mascot,” the Minister stated, explaining how the country is striving to preserve its habitat and also encourage the growth of sustainable eco-tourism.
The Minster expounded on the country slogan “Malaysia, Truly Asia”, explaining how its colours, flavours, sounds, and sights make it an irresistible draw for tourists.
As a teaser for next year’s campaign, the local Tourism Office, headed by Ms. Kausar Kassim, introduced a ‘Know your Malaysia’ Facebook contest.
Vancouver's Malaysian Consul General Mohd Haniff Abd Rahman, who will be playing an instrumental role for the coming 2014 campaign,.was also in attendance.
The Minister’s message and open approach energised the attendees and set the tone for the evening that included a dinner and colourful performances by a multi-ethnic Malaysian Dance Troupe. The performances showcased the country’s multicultural diversity.
Of the 500+ guests, most stayed until the very end with the Minister and his colleagues to enjoy extended performances and to participate in the dances themselves.
Minister Aziz was joined by Dato Haji Azizan Noordin, the Deputy Director General of Planning, and Rashidi Hasbullah, the Deputy Secretary General (Tourism Industry) for the event.
If Malaysia’s satellite tourism offices meet the Minister’s targets for 2014, the country will attract 28 million visitors – as many visitors as Malaysia has citizens – and it will jump up the global rank to challenge the UK for 8th position.
Despite Malaysia’ modest size, the multicultural nation composed of Malays, Chinese and Indians has consistently punched well beyond its weight in the tourism industry. The country’s exceptional attractions, ecological wonders, world heritage sites and its cosmopolitan urban culture draws millions of visitors from across the globe.