The 7th Asia Pasific Forum For Graduate Student’s
SPEECH FOR TOURISM MINISTER
THE 7TH ASIA PACIFIC FORUM FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS’ RESEACH IN TOURISM
· Y. Bhg Dato’ Seri Prof Dr Hj Ibrahim Abu Shah
The Vice Chancellor, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Malaysia
· Prof Dr Kaye Chon,
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
· Prof Dr Kurt Stahura,
University of Nevada (UNLV)
· Encik Amiruddin Abu
· Prof Madya Abd Azis Abd. Majid
Dean, Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management
· Dr Norain Othman
Organizing Chairman of the 7th Asia Pacific Forum
· Guest speakers, Members of the Media, Delegates and Presenters of the Forum, Distinguished Guest,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As the country’s minister of tourism, first and foremost I would like to say ‘Selamat Datang ‘ to all delegates from the Asia Pacific region gathered here to-day. I feel gratified to see our excellent host UiTM is showing us the way forward in the industry by organizing this Forum with partners from the private sector, TAYLOR’S COLLEGE, the Hong Kong POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, and eTURBONEWS from the US.
I have also been informed the eminent PROFESSOR KAYE CHON, the man behind the Forum has been very patient during the planning stages of this Forum, despite obstacles faced by the organizers. I believe this is also another trait you require to move forward. Malaysia’s cumulative tourist arrivals from January to March 2008 were 5,342, 291, representing an increase of 1.2 percent compared to the figure of 5, 280, 094 for the same period in 2007.
Official figures from my ministry also reveal Malaysia has seen double-digit growth from most of our inbound markets following the success of our Visit Malaysia Year 2007 promotion which recorded a total of about 21 million visitors. I believe, if they say figures don’t lie, then Malaysia is still an attractive destination for our visitors.
I am proud to note, as one of the country’s premier training schools meeting the industry’s needs, UiTM’s FACULTY OF HOTEL & TOURISM MANAGEMENT today sees a flow of graduates from the certificate course entry level, right up to diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
In the spirit of Asian cooperation, I would like to see the delegates present here to-day, who will be responsible for shaping the policies and future direction of the industry, use the industry as a catalyst to eradicate poverty in the region under the spirit of prosper thy neighbour. By the end of the decade, the first two elements of an open skies policy towards a freer travel market will be in place.
First, airlines will have more landing rights in the region. Second, airlines are competing to fly you free – but you will still have to pay the airports to go through. Third, though the cost of fuel is escalating, grounding some airlines instead of flying, others are still flying! Now you, ladies and gentlemen, gathered here will have to go back and deliberate how do we sell the industry’s products to make it attractive for the visitors.
For nature lovers around the world, Malaysia offers you ecotourism destinations ranging from wildlife tours of experiencing bathing elephants to feeding our orang utans, as part of our efforts to promote sustainable tourism. In addition, for adventure lovers, Malaysia offers you cave exploration, jungle & waterfall trekking, bird-watching, river-rafting, all of which Malaysia have in abundance.
Do we need new products? Do we need to change, or find better ways of selling the industry’s products? I believe we need to ask ourselves these questions to move forward. I am sure there will be much to listen to – and debate – during he course of this Forum, including, I have been informed, HOMESTAY visits, which Malaysia is promoting in the industry, in addition to ecotourism. Malaysia’s traditional family communities in the kampungs have opened up their houses to foreign guests so visitors can have a taste of the kampung, or Malaysian village lifestyle. The cultural experience is likely to be very different from what anything you have experienced before. Live with your hosts, be a part of a Malaysian family. Experience a slice of Malaysians
SOUTH KOREA (next host):
As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, South Korea today is one of the Asian tigers. The country has become a role model for developing countries. Despite its economy being heavily dominated by technology, its MINISTRY OF CULTURE & TOURISM is actively encouraging the country’s traditional arts through funding educational programs in the arts. The next host for the Asia Pacific Forum 2009 will be held in Korea.
With that I would like to wish all delegates an enjoyable stay in Malaysia.