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Chairman of TM, Datuk Ahmad Shah Hussein Tambakau, with DG of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Musa Yusof, Malaysian High Commissioner to UK, Datuk Mohamad Sadik Kethergany and MHTC CEO Sherene Azli at the Visit Malaysia 2020 Bus and Taxi Wrap launch at the World Travel Market. (Pic by Zaharah Othman)

LONDON: Malaysia is set to welcome 30 million visitors next year, with 500,000 expected to come from the United Kingdom.

This will be translated into RM100 billion of tourist receipts, said Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Ahmad Shah Hussein Tambakau at the 40th World Travel Market (WTM) recently.

The event marks the 36th year of Malaysia’s participation at the fair, one of the largest in the world that introduces global travel buyers to over 5,000 of the biggest destinations and brands in the world.

At the start of the three-day event at EXCEL London, Tourism Malaysia launched the Visit Malaysia 2020 Bus and Taxi Wrap campaign to promote Malaysian holidays and destinations.

“This is one of our strategies to attract tourists. I believe it is a very effective promotional tool for Tourism Malaysia,” he said after the launch.

Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof said the “tactical approach”, as opposed to “thematic approach”, relied on promotional activities with buses, taxies, trains and tour operators to promote travel packages.

“We can gauge the conversion rate, those who saw the advertisement and then go to Malaysia. I am confident that Tourism Malaysia can achieve the tourist arrival of 30 million with (a targeted) income of RM100 billion.

“And, as stated by the prime minister on July 20, the VMY 2020 campaign is a national agenda,” said Musa.

More than 100 events have been lined up for next year’s celebrations to showcase Malaysia’s diverse culture and traditions.

They include the Malaysia Open House for Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali and Christmas, Thaipusam, Tadau Kaamatan and Gawai Festival (Harvest Festival), George Town Festival, Rainforest World Music Festival, Regatta Lepa and Selangor International Indigenous Arts Festival.

To raise Malaysia’s profile, there is the Asia Golf Tourism Conference organised by International Association of Golf Tour Operators.

Strengthening the VMY 2020 campaign is the concurrent campaign for Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel next year. Malaysia has received strong interest as a health and wellness destination recently, with 1.2 million healthcare travellers last year.

To boost connectivity, Tourism Malaysia has signed an agreement with Etihad Airways to increase accessibility to Malaysia. Further partnerships with other airlines are in the pipeline.

According to Etihad senior vice-president (destination leisure management) Hareb al Muhairy, Etihad has been flying to Malaysia since 2007, bringing in more than 2.7 million passengers.

Also at the WTM, Malaysia Airlines launched the Fly Malaysia campaign to celebrate the country’s history and reaffirm the airline’s status as a national icon.

The campaign, which runs until December next year, aims at promoting Malaysia in key overseas markets and boosting domestic and international arrivals.

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