Twenty-nine years ago, when the Visit Malaysia Year campaign was first launched, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad envisioned that tourism would one day be an important industry in our economy. And true enough, this has come true.
“Tourist arrivals have increased steadily and Malaysia has truly become popular and able to hold our own against other global destinations,” Dr Mahathir said during the launch of the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign logo earlier this week.
In 2018, Malaysia welcomed a total of 25.8 million international tourists. And for the first five months of 2019, international tourist arrivals grew by 4.8% compared to last year, amounting to a total of 10.95 million. The first quarter of 2019 also showed an increase in tourism revenue, which surged 16.9% compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur is ranked ninth in the list of most-visited cities in 2017 by the Top 100 Cities Destinations 2018 report.
Dr Mahathir noted there is positive growth in the section, but it is not the time for Malaysians to sit back and be content, rather they must continue the good work.
The government has set a target of 30 million tourist arrivals during Visit Malaysia 2020 and RM100bil in tourist receipts. The campaign will focus on ecotourism, arts and culture.
“Our hospitality is not just a slogan, but it must be transformed into reality through everyone’s joint efforts. The beauty of a place will attract, but it is the hospitality that makes people stay and return, and this hospitality must be inculcated into the nature and culture of our people,” said Dr Mahathir, exhorting all Malaysians to share across all social media platforms about how beautiful Malaysia is and how peaceful and wonderful it is to be here.
The new logo, a revamp of last year’s controversial campaign image, features icons synonymous with Malaysia including the hornbill and bunga raya, as well as the colours of the Malaysian flag. These icons represent the country’s diverse culture, heritage, flora, fauna and the experiences Malaysia offers as a not-to-be-missed holiday destination.
A competition was held a few months back calling for Malaysians to produce a new logo, and graphic designer Alfred Phua Hong Fook took the challenge. His winning creation was selected out of hundreds of entries from all over Malaysia.
The launch also saw the exchange of the Memorandum of Joint Promotion ceremony between Tourism Malaysia and several parties (Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly, Malindo Air, Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad/MAHB and Sharp Electronics). The four airlines also unveiled the Visit Malaysia 2020 livery on their aircraft.
Tourism Malaysia and MAHB have also partnered with international airlines such as Condor Air, Air Arabia and Busan Air to launch new routes to Malaysia from key international destinations.
Visa On Arrival facilities have also been expanded to 13 stations in Malaysia to provide hassle-free entry into the country for both China and India nationals, two of the fastest-growing outbound tourist markets in the world.