A pioneer in promoting Japan’s tourism to Malaysia was recognised with a prestigious honour here in Kuala Lumpur.
Apple Group of Companies group managing director Datuk Seri Lee Ee Hoe received the decoration of the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” granted by the Emperor of Japan.
Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa presented the honour on behalf of the Government of Japan.
The recognition was for Lee’s longstanding contributions in the development and promotion of tourism between Japan and Malaysia.
Apple Vacations is a tour operator founded by Lee and his partner, Datuk Seri Koh Yock Heng.
Miyagawa said Apple Vacations became the first overseas travel company to receive the prestigious “Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner’s Commendation Award 2013” by the Japan Tourism Agency in October 2013.
“Since Apple Vacations’ inception in 1996, they have sent up to 86,000 Malaysian tourists to Japan in the past 10 years with the number hitting 11,000 in 2013,” he said.
Miyagawa expressed his appreciation and congratulations to Lee, adding that it was a well-deserved honour.
Lee’s brush with Japan began when he studied international economics at the Tokyo International University under the Look East Policy by the Government.
He added that there was more to sightseeing to Japan and that visitors had a lot to learn from them.
“Japan is not just a destination but a journey,” he said.
Also present at the event was Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.