AND the winner is ... Miss Philippines!
Out of 57 contestants from around the world, Philippine delegate Leren Mae Bautista, 22, was crowned Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2015.
It was a proud moment for Leren, whose lifelong ambition was to become a flight attendant and beauty queen.
“I am so happy!
“I have learnt so much during my time here in Malaysia and I am going to share all my experiences to promote this country to people in my country,” said the beauty queen, who also won the subsidiary title Miss KL SOGO Trendsetter.
Waving the Philippines flag furiously as Leren was crowned was her family.
Her older brother Ron Michael Bautista, 25, said Leren had worked so hard and now all her efforts had paid off.
“I am so happy to see her dreams come true,” he said.
Joining Leren in the top five winners category were Miss India Chandni Sharma (Dream Girl of the Year International), Miss Lithuania Irmina Presegalaviciute (Miss Tourism Global International), Miss Uganda Sheila Kirabo (Miss Tourism Metropolitan International) and Miss Iceland Tanja Yr Asthorstoddir (Tourism Cosmopolitan International).
All top five winners received cash prizes, a crown, a trophy, vouchers and scholarships worth RM250,000, sponsored by Asia Metropolitan University (AMU).
Ten subsidiary titles adopted by sponsors were also given away to the delegates this year.
Noted for being the friendliest personality throughout the pageant, Malaysian delegate Janet Fabian, 27, won the subsidiary title of Miss Friendship for her spirit of camaraderie.
The subsidiary title for Best In Talent went to Miss Sweden Olivia Sophia Elisabeth Asplund who figure skated her way into the judges’ hearts while Miss Indonesia Delvia Wirajaya swept up the title for Best In National Costume.
The world final event captured the essence of Malaysia’s role as the host country by featuring a special batik and songket showcase.
Prior to the 21st edition of Miss Tourism International 2015 event, the international delegates also visited various iconic locations in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, played golf with four of Malaysia’s best professional golfers and spent time with patrons of the Ti Ratana Orphanage and Old Folks Home.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab commended the pageant’s achievement in promoting local tourism.
“This homegrown title is something we should all be proud of.
“Pageants like this will help us achieve our target of 30.5 million visitors and RM103bil income in 2016,” he said
Miss Tourism International 2015 pageant president Tan Sri Danny Ooi was happy with the outcome of the pageant and hoped to grow it further.
“We now have 57 countries competing and it is already a challenge to coordinate such a pageant. But I still hope to increase this number to more than 60 countries in the next pageant,” he said.