Campaign to attract foreign exchange of RM44.5bil

PETALING JAYA: The much-awaited Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007 is expected to bring in big bucks for the country and place it in the forefront as a destination of choice. 

The campaign, aimed at attracting 20.1 million visitors and a foreign exchange revenue of RM44.5bil, will benefit many sectors of the economy – tourism, hotel, leisure and entertainment, retail, food, agriculture and transportation. 

The Tourism Ministry, armed with a budget allocation of about RM200mil, has been working closely with various government agencies as well as the private sector to make VMY2007 a spectacular year for tourism.  

As Malaysia’s leading leisure and hospitality company, Resorts World Bhd would maintain room rates this year in efforts to attract more visitors and in support of VMY 2007, its management told StarBiz

Over 18 million visitors, both Malaysians and foreigners, visit Genting Highlands Resort each year.  

“In conjunction with VMY2007, we are all prepared to welcome our visitors with new and better facilities such as better room selections at the First World Hotel (Superior Deluxe rooms) and newly refurbished rooms and hotel lobby at Resort Hotel,” the management said in a written reply. 

Genting Highlands Resort will also be bringing over 50 signature shows and events to its patrons during the year. It has lined up events such as the International Lion Dance Competition which is expected to draw the best lion dance troupes from around the world, top notch Michelin Star Chefs to cook up a delightful fine-dining experience and World Gourmet Festival to tantalise the taste buds. 

“We have also some mega concerts featuring Boys II Men, Sir Cliff Richard, Joey Yung and Sally Yeh. 

“In terms of performing arts, we will be organising a two-day Genting International Jazz Festival on June 6,” the management said. 

In keeping up with the theme Fun At The Peak, the resort’s theme park will add two new rides in 2007 – the Mini Train and the Pirate Ship. 

The Shangri-La group also has a lot of plans up its sleeve worldwide. Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur area manager and general manager Jarlath Lynch said: “By working together as a group, we will be attacking all the different global markets. We are also putting aside a reasonable sum for VMY2007 – all in all, we are doing a lot in support of the campaign,” he said. 

Area director of communications Rosemarie Wee said the group's Shangri-La properties in the country were going full force into promoting VMY2007 by having many activities including cultural performances, organising traditional games, offering different types of Malaysian cuisine and providing traditional dance classes.  

“At Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, we plan to receive groups and tourists weekly with our cultural troop made up of six members playing the kompang and six women in various national costumes,” she said. Lynch said Shangri-La was optimistic it would continue to see development and growth not only in Malaysia but across the group. 

“We should capture a sizeable share of the market based on our service and products. We are doing very well in Malaysia, and the group in general is already expanding very fast. 

“We are very optimistic of turning in a better performance, especially with VMY2007. The outlook is also pretty good for us as there will be more of our hotels coming up,” he said. Shangri-La is known in Asia-Pacific as a leading luxury hotel brand. The Shangri-La group has 49 hotels under the 5-star Shangri-La and 4-star Traders Hotels, and room inventories of about 23,000.  

The group has 40 projects under development in countries like Canada, China, France, India, Japan, Macau, Maldives, the Philippines and Thailand.  

Travel group Reliance Pacific Bhd views VMY2007 as a business booster for the group.  

Executive director (travel division) Tan Sin Chong said: “We are positive about our performance for the year. VMY2007 will certainly result in an increase in arrivals and Reliance will be a beneficiary of this.  

“If you look at the statistics on the past two campaigns in 1990 and 1994, you will notice a surge in arrivals from previous years.” 

Tan anticipates a good year for Reliance in tandem with the expected growth in tourism as a result of VMY2007. Besides the economic benefits, Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee noted that VMY2007 would also draw a lot of talented people to work in the industry. “This will continue to help move the product and service quality to a higher level. The tourism industry is very competitive and other countries will always upgrade their services to attract foreign tourists. So it will help if we put more effort and commitment to excel in the industry.”  

Wee reckoned VMY2007 would help to formulate innovative solutions to facilitate tourist-related issues and the systems implemented could be sustained even after 2007. 

The VMY2007 launch will take place on Saturday at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa with the unveiling of the giant Ferris wheel “Eye on Malaysia”. 

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