Hopes are high for this year's ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Kuching, Sarawak, which is the first major international conference following the launch of Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 on January 1.
The tradeshow, comprised of the ASEAN NTOs meeting, tourism ministers meeting and TRAVEX, is expected to accelerate Malaysia’s drive towards its target of 28 million arrivals and RM76 billion (US$23.3 billion) in tourism receipts this year.
Ong Hong Peng, chairman of the ATF 2014 steering committee and also the secretary-general at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, said: “With the VMY 2014 campaign in place, we hope all ATF delegates can play a role by helping us disseminate information and spread the word about this campaign.
“Increased tourism arrivals to Malaysia will also benefit other ASEAN countries because tourists, especially those from medium- and longhaul markets, tend to visit more than one country when they travel to this region. This will benefit all ASEAN member states.”
He added: “By organising ATF in Kuching, we hope to showcase the destination’s natural beauty, infrastructure for business events and diverse tourism products to those looking for adventure, heritage and culture, and give a taste of what the rest of Malaysia holds.”
Ong also expressed hope that delegates would take time to enjoy Malaysia’s natural attractions before or after the meetings.
Pre- and post-show tours have been organised to promote Malaysia’s tourism offerings. Pre-show tours include technical visits for meeting delegates to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Sarawak Orchid Garden and a city tour of Kuching for TRAVEX visitors.
Post-show tours feature a choice of nature attractions in Sabah such as Kinabatangan Wildlife Safari, Mount Kinabalu and Tabin Wildlife Reserve while in Sarawak, delegates can take day trips to Bako National Park or 3D2N trips to Mulu National Park.