Malaysia hopes for 30 million tourists via ITB Berlin participation

A tourist uses a smart phone to take pictures of the Petronas Twin Towers. — Bernama pic
A tourist uses a smart phone to take pictures of the Petronas Twin Towers. — Bernama pic

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BERLIN, Feb 28 — Malaysia is hoping that its partner country participation in the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin from March 6-10 will help it reach the target of attracting 30 million tourists by 2020.

Head of ITB Berlin, David Ruetz, said that Malaysia’s nature, people and cuisine have made it ‘a must’ as a destination in Southeast Asia.

“Having Malaysia as our official partner country this year will enhance the important cultural links and engender more awareness and appreciation, both for us of their culture and traditions, and for them of ours,” added Ruetz.

Messe Berlin, the organiser of ITB Berlin, has also been drumming up support for Malaysia’s participation by releasing a statement quoting Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Mohamaddin Ketapi, as saying: “I believe Malaysia’s cultural uniqueness is a big draw for the European market.”

In the statement, Mohammadin also highlighted the increase in the number of renowned hotel property brands opening in Malaysia.

“Several established hotel brands have ventured into Malaysia for the first time recently, while some of them are poised to enter the market in the near future. We are pleased that brands such as Double Tree, Hilton, Marriot, Anantara, Westin, Mercure, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Hyatt and others see the value of Malaysia for their business expansion and investments,” said Mohammadin.

Messe Berlin claimed a total of 10,000 companies and organisations from 186 countries exhibited their products and services to around 170,000 visitors, including 110,000 trade visitors, in 2018.

Visitors to ITB Berlin will have the opportunity to experience Malaysia’s architecture, local food, and cultural performances. The country’s colourful national cultural troupe, through music, songs and dances, will depict an hour-long performance during the gala opening.

Tourism is an important part of Malaysia’s national economy, with the number of employees in the sector rising to 3.4 million in 2017, up from 1.5 million in 2005. — Bernama

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