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ASIA REGION 35 Truly

ASIA REGION 35 Truly Asia! Malaysia is on target to double visitors and triple revenue by 2020 With the ASEAN Tourism Forum planned for Malaysia in 2014, many eyes are turning to that country as an even more important key player in the region. Hon. Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen, the Malaysian Minister for Tourism, tells ITB Berlin News that the country’s 2012 visitor numbers are on target… Hon. Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen Minister of Tourism, Malaysia Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen is a Malaysian politician and the current Minister of Tourism. She is also the current Vice-President of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). She was the chief of the Women’s wing of the Malaysian Chinese Association until 2008. Her appointment as minister marked a milestone as the first Malaysian Chinese woman to hold a cabinet position. In 2009, she was appointed Minister of Tourism, and under her stewardship, Malaysia has received and continues to reap accolades from the world over. Our target for 2012 was 25 million visitors, and the latest results indicate we reached that. We are already the second-largest destination in Asia after China, and 9th largest in the world. By 2020 we aim to double the visitors and triple the revenue. What changes are you planning for this year? This year, a new terminal is due to open at Kuala Lumpur airport, mainly for lowcost carriers, and designed to handle 30 million passengers a year. There are also developments for airlines with a new Malaysia/Indonesia low fare airline, Malindo Airlines, due to start flying this year between the two countries, and Air France will start three weekly flights from Paris to Kuala Lumpur this April. And we are also working on plans for 2014, which we have designated Visit Malaysia Year [VMY]. The theme will be ‘Malaysia – Truly Asia’. Our goal is to rally all the nation’s forces behind VMY. The prime minister himself exhorted all Malaysians to stand together and show their best in terms of hospitality and sense of welcome. The prime minister himself exhorted all Malaysians to stand together and show their best in terms of hospitality. major international event in 2014 that publicises Malaysia worldwide for the VMY. This is the first time the ATF has been held on the island of Borneo, so we are exploring all the potential of Borneo, particularly in terms of leisure and adventure. The other important change is that we have just agreed for Aseanta (Asean Tourism Association) to run the Travex trade show part of ATF. many of them being unique to the island of Borneo, in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, so I really want to show our original culture, what we call ‘asli’ in the Malay language. I also want to bring tourists to Carey Island, south of Port Klang and not too far from Kuala Lumpur. It is the home of the Mah-Meri, an aboriginal tribe which creates extraordinary sculptures. [INTERVIEW BY RICHARD BARNES] What plans do you have for the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), due to be held in 2014 in Malaysia? The ATF will be the first What cultural and heritage attractions will you emphasise? Malaysia official records show 147 ethnic groups, Hall 26 A Stand 121 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 6 th March 2013

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