A BEVY of beauties from all over the world are in Malaysia vying for the coveted Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2015 title.
A total of 60 countries have sent their contestants to participate in the competition that was initiated in 1993.
The finale will be held at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel and Spa on Dec 31; the only world pageant to be held on New Year’s Eve.
Pageant president Tan Sri Danny Ooi said they had crossed the 21-year mark for the contest.
“The pageant is not only about good looks and beauty, it is more about promoting tourism, friendship and culture,” he said.
True to his words, the event this year promotes the tourism tagline “Malaysia Truly Asia” through several activities and digital content production over 14 days.
Participants will be using digital media, as well as social media to promote and reach out to the public.
Present at the press conference were Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and representatives of the pageant sponsors.
They included IOI Properties Group Bhd chief operating officer Cheah Wing Choong, Gintell (M) Sdn Bhd advertising and promotion manager Aly Wong, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd director James Lai, Sogo (KL) Department Store Sdn Bhd senior general manager Ronnie Tan and Focus Point Vision Group Care marketing and promotion manager Linda Keng Siew Li and Putrajaya Marriott Hotel general manager Simon Yong.
Mirza, in his speech, welcomed the contestants and urged them to consider Malaysia as their “home away from home”.
“This pageant will see the contestants experiencing our local cuisine and culture and will allow Malaysians to understand cultures from around the world as well,” he added.
During the press conference, contestants were introduced one by one and paraded in their ballroom gowns that carried a little part of their country, be it their national animals or monuments.
The contestants, aged between 18 and 26, will be taken on a tour to various locations, including a two-day visit to Malacca.
Contestant from Kenya, Marion Kisoso, 22, said she had heard so much about Malaysia and was looking forward to experiencing the local culture.
“I know it is a very short time but I hope I can experience it all,” she added.
Kisoso also said that she found the pageant enriching as she had learnt new languages from her fellow participants.
For Malaysian Janet Fabian, 23, being a participant of the host country, did not give her the jitters.
She said she was excited just like the other participants and was enjoying the experience.
The Sino-Kadazan lass wore an outfit designed by her fellow Sabahan, Bruno George Sadiwa, which included gong-inspired headgear.
The contest will have five top winners, including the first runner-up Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2015/16, second runner-up Miss Tourism Global International 2015-/16, third runner-up Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan International 2015/16 and fourth runner-up Dreamgirl of the Year International 2015/16.
There are also 10 other subsidiary titles to be won courtesy of the sponsors.
The titles include Miss KL Sogo Trendsetter, Miss Focus Point Dazzling, Miss Gintell Wellness, Miss Tropicana Lifestyle, Miss Friendship, Most Creative Selfie, Miss Joyful KLIA and Miss IDCC Congeniality.