first_imgMalaysia is eyeing a total of 33.1 million tourists and RM134 billion receipts for 2018 on the back of new tourism developments expected for this year, but the big news for the Australian tourism industry is that, after a hiatus of several years, a new PR agency is to be appointed here.Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General of Tourism Malaysia, made the pledge to appoint a new PR agency in Australia during question time at a press conference today at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Chiang Mai.Speaking to a room full of international media attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Chiang Mai Exhibition & Convention Centre, Thailand, today, the Director General said he anticipated that the roll-out of new attractions such as Desaru Coast Malaysia, a premium integrated destination resort, and the 20th Century Fox World Malaysia theme park, would help boost the appeal of the country as a holiday destination.He also conceded that Malaysia needed to work a lot harder to compete with neighbouring tourism destinations, who are all showing much healthier numbers in terms of tourism growth.Malaysia recorded a total of 21,504,930 tourist arrivals from January to October 2017, indicating a decrease of -2.5% compared to 22,056,417 for the same period in 2016. Tourist arrivals from Indonesia registered a decline of -5.9%, followed by Singapore (-6.6%), Myanmar (-12.6%), Philippines (-12.6%) and Cambodia (-32.8%). Australian visitor numbers are down by 6.7 per cent in 2017.Desaru Coast is one of Malaysia’s first integrated premium resorts and the most anticipated new tourism developments with the initial phase to open from June 2018.It offers a themed water park, known as Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, where visitors can experience the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia, as well as the region’s first water coaster. The fully-integrated beach-front destination will encompass globally renowned hotels and resorts namely The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast and Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas.The new attractions complement the country’s existing theme parks and shopping attractions such as Perak’s Movie Animation Park Studios, Lost World of Tambun (the only theme park that operates day and night) and various Premium Outlet malls around the country.Datuk Seri Mirza also listed out new hotels expected to open in 2018/2019 which included Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur; Movenpick Resort & Spa in Terengganu; W Hotels; and DoubleTree by Hilton, and highlighted the tourism board’s efforts to increase accessibility via various airline partnerships for scheduled and charter flights.All these efforts are in place in the lead up to Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign which is expected to bring in 36 million tourists and RM168 billion in tourist receipts. The objective is to promote Malaysia as a top-of-mind destination by highlighting the “Travel, Enjoy and Respect” tagline, in line with the National Eco-Tourism Plan 2016-2025.In conjunction with ATF 2018 and to kickstart the VMY 2020 promotion, AirAsia is running a regional promotion with up to 70% off to all Malaysian destinations. The booking period is from 22 to 28 January for travel between 1 August and 22 November 2018.last_img