The Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 promotional campaign was kicked off in 2013 by the Prime Minister, the Honorable Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak in January. It officially began a series of year-long special events and activities leading up to VMY 2014, with the theme “Celebrating Malaysia Truly Asia.”
The official launch of the intensive tourism campaign is set to promote the country internationally and highlight various pro-active initiatives by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Tourism Malaysia.
There are numerous reasons tourists find Malaysia a must-visit holiday destination. While some are there to experience the country’s marvelous natural wonders and impeccable warm hospitality, others simply enjoy the shopping and urban experiences.
Whether it’s the rich and colorful multicultural heritage, delectable cuisines, great mountains and rivers, lush green parks and gardens, idyllic tropical islands, palm-fringed beaches or million-year-old rainforests — you can find all these attractions in Malaysia … Truly Asia!
Currently the second-largest foreign exchange earner for Malaysia, tourism continues to be a critical economic sector for the country, providing significant potential for growth and development.
Malaysia’s tourist arrivals continue to grow every year. Last year was no exception. The country welcomed 25 million foreign tourists, placing it as the 10th most popular tourism destination in the world, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
In terms of international tourism receipts, the country was ranked 13th, registering RM60.6 billion (US$18.29 billion).
China is the leading tourist source market outside the ASEAN region for Malaysia. Last year, China was ranked third among the top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia, with 1.56 million tourists, signifying a 24.6 percent growth compared to the previous year.
Indeed, Tourism Malaysia’s promotional efforts in China have always been extensive and aggressive. This is not a surprise as the relationship between China and Malaysia has grown from strength to strength over the years and today, both countries have become close friends and partners engaging in tourism, trade and commerce, and learning from each other in various fields.
With the celebration of the Visit Malaysia Year in 2014, Malaysia aims to boost arrivals from China and the rest of the world. It is all about bringing Malaysia to the world and bringing the world to Malaysia.
VMY 2014 will also help to ensure that Malaysia meets its target of achieving 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by the year 2020, based on the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan.
To achieve its goal, Malaysia is targeting high net-worth tourists. The country has rolled out various innovative and creative events and activities, as well as luxury experiences to diversify its tourism attractions. They include spa and wellness vacations, golfing holidays, weddings and honeymoons, duty-free shopping sprees and helicopter tours.
To cater to affluent and discerning travelers, Malaysia continues to welcome the arrival of many new high-end hotels and resorts.
Nevertheless, a luxury holiday in Malaysia goes beyond world-class hotels and resorts. Many people would agree that luxurious holidays wouldn’t be complete without indulging in a high-end luxury-shopping spree. Malaysia certainly has much to offer when it comes to shopping. Besides local brands, many famous international brands have also chosen to be represented in the country.
It is not a surprise that shopping was the second-highest tourist expenditure for Malaysia last year, after accommodations. Tourist expenditure on shopping increased by 6.3 percent to the tune of RM18.6 billion compared to 2011. It constituted about 30.7 percent of Malaysia’s total receipts of RM60.6 billion. In 2000, when the inaugural Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival was launched, shopping only constituted 23.1 percent of the country’s total tourist expenditures.
The arrival of Southeast Asia’s first premium outlet center in Malaysia in December 2011 has also solidified the country’s position as a preferred destination to visit, shop, dine and relax. The Johor Premium Outlets features more than 80 designer and name-brand stores, offering impressive factory direct savings of 25 percent to 65 percent every day.
In addition, Malaysia’s three major sale events, the Malaysia Grand Prix Sale (March to April), the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival (June to September), and the Malaysia Year-End Sale (November to January), organized by Tourism Malaysia annually, are also highly anticipated not only by local shopaholics but also those from around the region.
To further boost tourist shopping expenditures, the Malaysian government has intensified efforts to position the country as a duty-free shopping destination. Beginning January 1, 2011, import duties have been abolished, making imported goods (except cars, glassware, cigarettes, alcohol and chocolates) that are not subject to Customs duties readily available all over the country and not limited to duty-free zones.