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SPEECH TEXT BY MINISTER, ASEAN TOURISM FORUM 2018

LUNCHEON SPEECH
BY
YB DATO SERI MOHAMED NAZRI BIN ABDUL AZIZ
MINISTER OF TOURISM AND CULTURE MALAYSIA
AT
LEELAWADEE HALL, CHIANGMAI INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION & CONVENTION CENTRE

26 JANUARY 2018 (FRIDAY) | 12:25PM

ASEAN TOURISM FORUM 2018 (ATF 2018)

(SALUTATIONS WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE ORGANIZER)

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen.

1. Good afternoon. On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia, I am pleased to bid you a very warm welcome or 'Selamat Datang' to our luncheon held in conjunction with the 37th ASEAN Tourism Forum.

2. I would like to take this opportunity to convey our sincere appreciation to the Government of Thailand for being the gracious host of ATF 2018. The warmth and hospitality we have experienced have inspired us to ensure that this significant Forum is both productive and successful.

3. I am truly honoured and happy to be a part of this annual tourism event once again. After more than three decades, Malaysia remains fully supportive and passionate of ATF.

4. Reflecting our strong support for ATF, we have brought a total of 113 delegates to the Forum this year. These delegates, which include tour operators, hotels, theme parks, tourist attractions and relevant public agencies, represent key stakeholders of our Malaysian tourism industry.

5. May I invite the delegates from Malaysia to stand up to be recognised, and greet all our esteemed guests. Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen,

6. ASEAN is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in terms of its dynamic economy as well as its high growth tourism industry.

7. Malaysia aims to be a major player to this economic and tourism growth by enhancing our tourism offerings to strengthen ASEAN as a multi-faceted and multi-destination attraction. By doing so, we can better attract travelers, especially those from long-haul markets, who are in search of greater depth, breadth and value to their travel experience.

8. Tourism Malaysia has also collaborated with other ASEAN NTOs to develop the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy 2017-2020. This cohesive effort ensures that the marketing of ASEAN follows an integrated approach that benefits not only the tourism industry but economies within local communities as a whole.

9. In view of the ATF 2018 theme of "ASEAN - Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity," The Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and its ASEAN counterparts are also committed towards a balanced tourism development in this region. By working cohesively to position ASEAN as a single destination, we can encourage tourists to travel to less developed destinations within our region. This will in turn contribute towards enriching the lives of people throughout the ASEAN member countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

10. The tourism industry in Malaysia continues to grow from strength to strength. These next three years are a crucial period for our country’s tourism - they are the lead up to the much-anticipated Visit Malaysia Year 2020. By then, we expect to welcome some 36 million tourists to our shores with tourist receipts reaching RM168 billion.

11. Our team is already hard at work putting the multitude of world-class programmes, attractions and events in place. We are also mindful in ensuring that our tourism infrastructure is in place for the yearlong extravaganza.

12. I am confident that Visit Malaysia Year 2020 will be significant not only in strengthening Malaysia’s appeal as a top destination for travel but also showcase the multicultural diversity we have to offer.

13. One of the new attractions we are banking on is Desaru Coast a premium integrated destination resort combining accommodation, golf, theme park, convention centre, leisure, retail and F&B, which is expected to open by June this year.

14. In the context of ASEAN tourism, Visit Malaysia Year 2020 also brings with it the opportunity to cross-sell and re-market the region to tourists who are visiting Malaysia. There are ample opportunities for industry stakeholders across the region to work together and benefit as a whole.

Ladies and gentlemen,

15. The outlook for the tourism sector in Malaysia as well as ASEAN countries is bright. Our challenge moving forward is to work together to create a seamless and unforgettable experience for tourists when they visit ASEAN as a single yet multifarious travel destination.

16. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and appreciate the contributions of AirAsia in connecting Malaysia and the ASEAN region with cities around the world. As they say, connectivity is the heart of our industry growth, and I look forward to seeing them expand their wings further to make travel to and within ASEAN more accessible for everyone.

17. I also wish to thank all our industry partners and media friends for their continuous support in promoting Malaysia.

18. It is now my greatest pleasure to launch the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 promotion campaign.

Thank you.
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