Malaysia’s recently appointed Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz led a delegation to Australia and New Zealand in June with a mission to boost Australian visitors following a nine per cent drop in 2012. In 2011, Australian visitors numbered 558,411 – last year only 507,948.
Minister Aziz said his country’s top visitor markets, in order, were Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Borneo, India, Philippines and Australia, but “we would like to see Australia in our top five”.
Malaysia had 25 million visitors and RM60 billion in revenue last year and is pushing for 28 million visitors in 2013.
He urged Australians to try the broad range of experiences from great value shopping to 140 million year old jungles to some of the world’s best scuba diving, saying, “Malaysian hospitality is in our DNA.”
Referring to a growing trend to pilgrimage tourism to Malaysian Borneo by Australian veterans and their families, he said, “We are forever indebted to Australia for defending us during the confrontation with Indonesia back in the ‘60s and we would like you to come back.”
Malaysia is also looking to boost its business events revenues, currently derived from only 5.3 per cent of total visitor arrivals. General manager of Malaysia Major Events, Tony Nagamaiah, said business visitors currently spent USD2700 per trip, excluding flights.
Mr Nagamaiah said Malaysian business tourism was ranked eighth in the Asia Pacific, but it wanted to gain a top 5 ranking by 2020 and over the past three years seed funding had been provided to support that growth.
Malaysia recently went live with a digital marketing strategy that includes a website able to take bookings online from Australia and New Zealand. Malaysia also recently appointed a dedicated sales representative in Melbourne to help secure new business events.


Maintaining its 80 per cent bid success rate in 2012, the Sarawak Convention Bureau has set its sights on securing 45 bid wins for 2013. Recording 22 international conferences to Sarawak as of press time, these events are expected to welcome 7411 delegates and an estimated RM 14.7 million in direct delegate expenditure from 2013 to 2019. Managing director of the bureau, Mike Cannon, said Sarawak was rapidly gaining in popularity as an international meetings destination.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. recently reported the company will open 20 new hotels in China in 2013. Having doubled its footprint in China in the last three years, Starwood has 120 hotels open and more than 100 in the pipeline, making China the company’s second largest hotel market behind only the United States, and its fastest growing. “We continue to view China as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our business,” CEO Fritz van Paasschen said. “Whether it’s growing our hotel footprint as part of the country’s massive infrastructure development, or building our loyalty program in the world’s fastest growing travel market, we are focused on taking every advantage of our important first-mover position in China.”


Reed Travel Exhibitions has announced the launch of IBTM Africa. The 2014 event will take place at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC) complex in the West Ballroom from April 28 to 30 and will be part of Africa Travel Week. IBTM Africa will be one of three co-located events at the CTICC that form ‘Africa Travel Week’ which also includes ILTM Africa (International Luxury Travel Market), and WTM Africa (World Travel Market) which will take place from May 2 to 3. IBTM Africa will be similar to the recently launched IBTM India – a two-and-a-half day table-top format.


In June 2013 IPW (International Pow Wow) was held in the glittering city of Las Vegas, Nevada – and what a time was had by all! More than 6400 delegates attended which included 1300 buyers from more than 70 countries; 500 journalists and the entire shebang generated more than $3.5 billion in future travel to the USA. Next year’s IPW (2014) will be held in Chicago.