YB DATO’ SERI MOHAMED NAZRI BIN TAN SRI ABDUL AZIZ
Minister of Tourism & Culture, Malaysia
Signing Of Memorandum of Understanding Between Ministry of Tourism And Culture, Malaysia And Visa
Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
25 June 2014 (Wednesday), 3.00 pm
Salam Sejahtera dan Salam 1 Malaysia
(Salutations to be provided by organizing secretariat)
YBrs. Encik Rashidi Hasbullah
Deputy Secretary General (Tourism Industry), Ministry of Tourism and Culture
YBhg. Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab
Director General, Tourism Malaysia
Mr. Ruben Salazar Genovez
Vice President, Consumer Product, VISA Worldwide Pte. Limited
Mr Ng Kong Boon
Country Manager, VISA Malaysia
Esteemed members of the media
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
1. Let me begin by expressing sincere apologies from YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia for not being able to be with us this afternoon as he is currently attending some other urgent matters. YB Dato’ Seri conveys his warm greetings and best wishes to all of you at this ceremony. I shall now read this speech on behalf of YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Tan Sri Abdul Aziz.
2. A very good afternoon to everyone gathered here today to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and VISA Worldwide (VISA). Through this smart partnership, VISA will be designated as the Official Card for the Visit Malaysia Year 2014, and the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.
3. Today’s historic occasion is truly significant as by having Visa on board as Malaysia’s strategic partner, this will certainly assist in further promoting Visit Malaysia Year 2014 and Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 to the rest of the world. Subsequently, this partnership will provide us with limitless opportunities to reach out to an unprecedented global audience through VISA’s global network. This strategic partnership with VISA is an initiative under the National Blue Ocean Strategy or NBOS.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
4. The tourism industry is a prime contributor to the socio-economic development of the nation. Tourism is the second largest foreign-exchange earner after manufactured goods and the sixth largest component in the Malaysia economy in 2013, moving up one spot compared to 2012 with a contribution of RM51.5 billion to the Gross National Income (GNI) in 2013.
5. This is the result of the strong performance above expectations in 2013, with tourist receipts of RM65.44 billion exceeding the target of RM65 billion. The 8.1% growth from RM60.56 billion in 2012, represents an expansion of about RM4.89 billion in foreign exchange earnings. Despite a challenging year, tourist arrivals also grew by 2.7% to 25.7 million arrivals compared to 25.0 million arrivals in 2012.
6. At this juncture, I would like to reiterate that Malaysia welcomed a total of 7.09 million tourists for the first quarter of 2014, registering a hike of 10% compared to 6.45 million tourists for the same period last year.
7. In line with our iconic brand, ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ our unique selling point is not only in terms of our rich cultural and heritage diversity but also the harmony, stability and warmth of Malaysian hospitality. The many tourism landscapes, abundance of biodiversity and unique blend of cultural heritage, cuisine, arts, crafts and architecture, have always put Malaysia on the map as a must-visit global destination.
8. It is for this reason we have embarked on this strategic partnership between Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and VISA. This partnership will allow us to showcase the best of what we have to offer during Visit Malaysia Year 2014 and the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.
9. In conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2014, we aim to achieve 28 million in international tourist arrivals and RM76 billion in tourist receipts. As for Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015, we aim to achieve 29.4 million tourist arrivals and RM89 billion in tourist receipts. With this smart partnership as witnessed today, I am confident, together we will achieve our targets.
10. As the host, we are showcasing more than 200 major events and activities throughout the year across the country for Visit Malaysia Year 2014. These major events include the Rainforest World Music Festival, Magic of the Night, 1Malaysia Mega Sales Carnival, 1Malaysia Contemporary Arts Festival and KL Arts & Cultural Festival: sharing with the world – our richly blessed cultures, arts, traditions, festivals, cuisines and bonds of nationhood of a country’s citizens that are so diverse in ethnicities, yet so united at heart.
11. Through our partnership, VISA will help us promote all these exciting events and festivals in our country throughout 2014 and 2015 to millions of people around the world. They will also highlight, through their various marketing and communications collaterals, the best travel packages and promotional offers that Malaysia has to offer during the period. Currently, VISA is promoting the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and also KLCC, the main shopping destination in the Klang Valley.
12. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture will be working very closely with VISA to identify events, festivals and attractions around the country that we can promote internationally. These include interesting, innovative and unique tourism experiences encompassing eco-tourism, golf-tourism, medical tourism, homestay experiences and lots more.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
13. One of the key challenges to promote our country as a preferred tourist destination is to deliver them the right information about our country. Travellers and holiday makers today are tech savvy, well-travelled and their exposure to tourists’ destinations is comprehensive. Their choices have grown and are ever-changing. They seek out information and want those information easily and quickly to make the right choices for themselves. The introduction of VISA’s Travel App is a fine example of how we can make technology work to achieve our goals.
14. With an application such as the VISA Travel App, tourists will be able obtain up to date information about Malaysia before and during their trips. These include useful information such as current events in the country, locations and directions to travel attractions, travel promotions, travel options and advice, festivals, and lots more. I believe this will indeed enhance tourists’ experience when visiting our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
15. The road ahead is filled with many more challenges. Hence, it is important for us to strategize our plan forward and execute them to ensure Malaysia remains attractive and as one of the world’s most-preferred tourist destination. As such, it requires Malaysians to come together as one united nation, staying committed and dedicated to ensure our love for our country.
16. I would like to thank VISA for joining us in this national endeavour to promote Malaysia around the globe. I’m confident that this alliance will benefit both our organisations greatly.